Saul Raisin continues to support survivors of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) through his fourth annual Raisin Hope Auction to be held from November 21-28 on eBay. The former Credit Agricole rider and head trauma survivor will auction off four pieces of cycling memorabilia including Thor Hushovd's green jersey won at the 2009 Tour de France, signed by the Norwegian sprinter himself.
"Thor is a good friend of mine and a really good guy," Raisin told Cyclingnews of his former teammate. "This auction has been really successful and we have raised tens of thousands of dollars from conducting this auction. It is a great opportunity to give back to others. Each year all the proceeds go directly to our foundation and then we give away 100 percent to other organizations that are fighting traumatic brain injuries."
Other items to be auctioned off include a signed poster of the famed-Belgian cyclist Eddie Merckx, a sign former Giro d'Italia winner Andy Hampsten poster and a 10-foot tall banner of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.
Raisin is the founder of the Raisin Hope Foundation that provides support and awareness for survivors of brain injuries and their families. The foundation outlines three main goals, to support brain injury research, offer information about medical, physical and emotional recovery and promote public awareness and understanding of people with disability as a result of brain injury.
"When you look at how life changing and devastating a brain injury is, there is a risk that there is very little out there for those people," Raisin said. "The people who donate to Raisin Hope touch me because my family and I visit hospitals call the friends and families of people with brain injuries just to be there for them. I like to think that we have touched the lives of thousands of people, if not more."
Raisin was involved in a devastating crash on April 4 in 2006 while racing at the Circuit de la Sarthe with his Credit Argicole team. He was hospitalized in a coma with a large hematoma on the right side of his brain. He awoke with temporary paralysis to the left side of his body and has undergone extensive rehabilitation.
"My accident has given me more reason and purpose than I ever had as a cyclist," Raisin said. "I can reach out and give back and spend time with these people which I never would have been able to do as a cyclist. It's hard for people to imagine how much improvement I have made."
"Doctors say that I had to relearn everything from reading, writing and simple math," he added. "I couldn't do these things because I lost everything. I lost everything that I was. Out of everyone who gets a brain injury as severe as mine was, less than one percent will get back."
Raisin has made a strong recovery and is currently attending the Physical Therapy Program at Dalton State College, in his home town of Dalton, Georgia. "I tell people that I should already have my doctorate in physical therapy because I was in the rehab for years," he said.
Raisin recently published his first book entitled Tour de Life: From Coma to Competition that raised more than $150,000 for Traumatic Brain Injuries.
A link to the Raisin Hope Auction will be posted on the website www.raisinhope.org.