Bicycle Motocross Australia (BMXA), Cycling Australia (CA) and Mountainbike Australia (MTBA) today jointly launched an appeal for injured athlete Renee Junga. The 20 year old, who won a silver medal at last year's World BMX Championships in France and was the 2005 Australian Female BMX Cyclist of the Year, crashed on August 22nd while training on the 4X course in preparation for the World Mountain Bike Championships in Rotorua, NZ.
Renee broke the C1 and C2 bones in her neck and suffered spinal trauma at the T6 vertebrae. She also suffered two broken ribs and a fractured sternum. Surgeons operated to fuse together the bones in her neck and to insert a surgical rod and screws to stabilise her spine. Renee remains in Auckland City Hospital recovering from the surgery but is expected to fly back to Brisbane later this month where she will initially be admitted to the Princess Alexandra Hospital.
"The purpose of the appeal is to raise funds to assist Renee with the challenges she faces in the future," said Cycling Australia CEO, Graham Fredericks. "A number of fund-raising efforts have already commenced in Australia and New Zealand and this support is greatly appreciated by Renee and her family."
"Renee is a very strong and determined young woman and we all wish her well with her rehabilitation," said BMXA Australia President, Graham Arnold.
Renee yesterday was visited by former motorcycle Motocross racer Niki Urwin who suffered spinal injuries in a racing accident in Horsham, Victoria several years ago. Urwin, who is paralysed from the chest down, is the coach of New Zealand mountain bike cyclist Vanessa Quin.
"It was good to speak to someone who has actually been through what I am going through," said Renee. "He told me about what I can expect and shared some of his experiences with me."
On Wednesday, Renee achieved a milestone when she sat upright for the first time. "I got onto the edge of the bed, feet on the ground and bent at 90 degrees," said Renee. "It only lasted for about five minutes because I got a bit dizzy but the physios were pretty happy with that. They are going to set me up with a temporary wheelchair later this week."
Renee has been fitted with a brace, neck to waist, which she must wear for around twelve weeks but says the pain from her surgery is beginning to ease.
"Today I also saw the dentist about my left molar which I cracked pretty badly in the crash," she said. "They'll probably try and put a temporary cap on it next week but there's not a lot more they can do until the brace comes off because it restricts my neck movement."
People who wish to contribute to the Renee Junga Appeal can do so by:
Cheque – payable to
ACF – Renee Junga Appeal
C/- PO Box 7183
Bass Hill NSW 2197
Credit Card – (Mastercard, Visa, Bankcard)
by phone to CA +61 (2) 9644 3002 or in writing by fax +61 (2) 9644 3006 or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Direct Deposit (Commonwealth Bank)
BSB: 062 314
Account No: 1008 8234
Branch: Flemington Markets (Sydney, NSW)
(Please e-mail email@example.com to advise of your contribution amount, time of deposit and contact details so they can record and respond to your valued support).