A motocross accident two years ago left Kurt Brown in a wheelchair, but he can’t wait to get behind the wheel of his converted car for a charity cruise tomorrow.
For the 21-year-old Wollongong man, it will be a chance to give back to the organisation which helped give him back his independence.
Along with his father David, he organised the Easy Rider South Coast Cruise to raise money for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) and to mark the start of Spinal Injuries Awareness Week.
The pair has received a lot of support from the region’s motoring enthusiasts, and expect more than 100 cruiser motorbikes and muscle cars to take part in the cruise from Towradgi to Sussex Inlet.
‘‘Spinal Cord Injuries Australia is an organisation that many people have not heard of, but it helps thousands of people dealing with spinal cord injury or impairment like myself,’’ Kurt said.
‘‘After my accident it helped me with career guidance, with peer support visits and it helped get me back driving again, with a converted car that lets me control the accelerator and brakes with my hands.’’
Importantly SCIA also helped Mr Brown get back into the workforce through its disability employment service.
He’d started his apprenticeship as a mechanical technician at Westcliff Colliery before his accident, and with the organisation’s help he has now been able to return to work there as a maintenance scheduler.
‘‘Being able to work and to drive has really given me my independence back as I don’t have to count on anyone for money or to get anywhere,’’ he said.
‘‘I spent a lot of time in hospital and in rehabilitation after my accident and to get back to work has just been the best thing ever.’’
David Brown is asking cruise participants to donate $20 to SCIA in lieu of a registration fee.
‘‘Kurt was left with incomplete paraplegia after the accident which means he can’t walk and has only limited sensation in his legs,’’ he said.
‘‘SCIA has supported and encouraged him back into the job he loved before sustaining a spinal cord injury.
‘‘SCIA and its Workforce team do such amazing work. Their commitment and continual support to help you achieve whatever life goal you have really changes lives.’’
Cruise participants will meet at Towradgi Beach Hotel car park at 8.30am tomorrow and depart at 10am.