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Two-wheeled warrior gives back to LifeFlight

Peter Pellicaan has come a long way since he struggled to stand up and say his vows to his wife on their wedding day more than seven years ago.

A horror motorbike crash five weeks before their wedding left Peter fighting for his life and had to be airlifted by the Toowoomba-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter to Brisbane, where doctors told him he may never walk again, let alone walk down the aisle.

But he defied all the odds and stood proudly next to his wife, Leone - if only for a short duration of the ceremony - and says he owes his life to the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue service which airlifted him from his accident.

And now, Peter is giving back to the organisation which helped save his life by riding a bicycle and fundraising for the charity in its upcoming Tour de Rescue from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast on August 13 and he’s urging other riders to join him.

Back on December 6, 2009, Peter was an avid motorbike rider and was out riding with a friend when he had his accident.

“My mate and I had swapped bikes because he had recently purchased an off-road rally bike. I was riding on the highway and went onto a dirt section of track to check out how it handled off-road,” remembers Peter.

“I looked to get back on the highway and as I did that, the dirt track cut out. I hit a huge rut at more than 100kmh.”

Peter was flung from his bike and cartwheeled more than 50 metres in the air before he hit the ground with bone-shattering force.

Peter had six fractures in his vertebrae but the real damage was to his pelvis, which he says was the first area of his body to make contact when he smashed onto the road at high speed.

“The most damage was to my pelvis on the right side, it was completely in pieces, shattered and floating around inside my hip pocket,” he said.

Despite his immense pain and injuries, Peter called his fiancé and remembers apologising for injuring himself just five weeks out from their wedding. His next memory was staring at the roof of a hospital ceiling.

Doctors told Peter he would never walk again due to the huge trauma his pelvis had endured, but he was determined to prove them wrong.

It was a long, arduous and painful road to recovery and when it was time for his wedding, Peter could barely stand.

But he wasn’t going to let his physical injuries stand in the way of marrying the love of his life.

Embracing the situation, Peter decided to put all his groomsmen on crutches and got married sitting in an armchair, managing to find the strength to stand long enough to watch his wife walk down the aisle.

Eight years on from his horror accident and Peter has made a miraculous recovery, cementing a strong passion for adventure with another two-wheeled bike in the process, albeit with a little less motor.  

“My physio told me cycling was the best thing for the rehab of my hip. I’d done a bit of mountain-biking but this really got me back into road cycling,” he said.

His gratitude for the organisation which saved his life, has seen Peter has compete in two LifeFlight cycling challenges back in 2013 and 2015, and he will now take to his bike again to tackle the Tour de Rescue on Sunday, August 13.

Participants will again have the chance to spin the wheels in the ‘Ride to Save Lives’ alongside Australian cycling champion, Robbie McEwen, who will be fresh from commentating on the Tour de France.

LifeFlight’s Tour de Rescue cycle event and fundraising challenge will cover a new, 155km course which will take riders from North Brisbane to LifeFlight's Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore base.

Having cycled with Robbie McEwen before, Peter says it’s truly a once in a lifetime experience.

“Robbie is an encyclopedia of cycling. He’s a previous green jersey winner and commentator, he’s a lot of fun to cycle with,” he said.

For Peter, being able-bodied despite his serious accident is testament to the medical care and rapid-response airlift provided by RACQ LifeFlight Rescue.

“It’s a great service and something you don’t know about until you need it. LifeFlight was there to help me at my most vulnerable and when I needed them the most. Anything I can do to say thanks and raise awareness, I’m going to do it,” he said.

“In Australia we recognise the value of life, we don’t leave people on the side of the road, even if we don’t know them. That’s why emergency services like RACQ LifeFlight Rescue are worth protecting and raising money for.”

To register for LifeFlight’s Tour de Rescue cycling event and join the ‘ride to save lives’ visit http://tinyurl.com/LFTDRrego or phone the event organiser, Fiona on 0475 776 511.