Help Martin out!
I’m not sure if you heard about Martin Heng. Martin was a Lonely Planet rider on the 2009 TDA and accompanied you all from Nairobi to Lilongwe. I’m confident you all remember him as Martin is enthusiastic, strong, kind, smart, passionate, and was so much fun to ride through Africa with. Sadly, about a year ago, Martin was hit by a car riding his bicycle to work. His spinal cord was damaged and he is now a quadriplegic.
In some ways, Martin was lucky in that the lesion to his spinal cord was incomplete so he does have some movement below the level of his injury. All his muscle groups are working, although imperfectly, and over the last eight months he has learned to walk again, albeit with the aid of a walking frame and only over short distances. He has been attending the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre in Melbourne but as it’s a government facility, there is only so much they can do and patients only receive an hour of phsyio and an hour of occupational therapy per day.
There is a new program starting in Melbourne in January 2012 called WALK ON which has intensive exercise therapy. The first two years post -injury is when the best chance of recovery is gained, so Martin’s time is critical. Of course, such private therapy doesn't come cheap and there is also the additional cost of his care.
Lonely Planet staffers are riding 60km or 145km on March 24th to raise money for Martin’s treatment. There are organized rides already planned in Melbourne, London and San Francisco. If you’d like to join one of these rides, please contact Rana.Freedman@Lonelyplanet.com and she can put you in touch with a ride leader.
Or if you’d like to ride on March 24th on your own and raise money from your own community to help Martin, you are most welcome! This is a very loosely organized ride and we’d love to have folks riding from all over the world.
And of course, the other option is donating directly to sponsor the riders, with your monies going to Martin and his family for this program.
Here is the website about Martin and his situation, including information on how to donate: //sites.google.com/site/mhstepofhope/home
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact