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A Story of Gratitude and Recovery

As with any other sporting event, among the thrill of competition and the friendship of participants lies our concern for the safety and care of athletes and patrons. The Beechworth Gravelista, renowned for its challenging terrain and vibrant atmosphere, recently saw an incident that highlighted the importance of medical support teams, delivered on the day by St John Ambulance Victoria volunteers. 

At the end of April, mid-way through a thrilling ride in the Beechworth Gravelista, Damien Angus encountered a sudden and unforeseen challenge. A front-wheel blowout during a crucial descent saw him in a dangerous situation, as he was thrown out of his bike. Damien, whose passion for cycling brought him to this milestone event, found himself with multiple injuries: a count of seven fractures, including ribs, scapula, L3 vertebrae, and collarbone. 

In the face of harsh conditions, however, emerged Damien’s heroes. A St John Ambulance team, swiftly intervened, providing critical medical assistance. Despite his discomfort and uncertainty, Damien found relief in the professionalism and care presented by the dedicated team who attended to him. 

The Volunteer’s proactive approach, from meticulous wound care to offering invaluable advice, proved instrumental in aiding his swift recovery. “Alan and St John’s team were just excellent in cleaning all my abrasions (which were filled with gravel) to prevent infection. He gave a great piece of advice, and I asked the surgeon to also clean them out as part of the operation, none of my abrasions got infected.” 

Damien’s gratitude resonates through his words, a touching reminder of the great impact of compassionate healthcare. 

Beyond the immediate medical intervention, Damien recalls the warmth and positivity that surrounded the event. Despite his setback, the spirit of solidarity prevailed, reaffirming the sense of community that defines the Beechworth Gravelista. As he embarks on the journey of recovery, he looks forward to returning to the event in 2025, eager to reclaim the celebration of his 50th birthday ride. “I'm on the mend now and back on the indoor bike trainer, but it will be another 4 weeks until I can run given, I need the cracks to heal. In 30 years of cycling, this was my first. So, I guess I was due. Given this was my 50th birthday ride event celebration, there is unfinished business: wine to drink post event and a speech to give - so, we will see you in 2025.” 

In sharing this story, we honour not only Damien’s resilience but also the dedication of St John Ambulance volunteers who demonstrate service for humanity in each and every interaction.

As we celebrate the triumphs and challenges in every journey, let us cherish the bonds established through shared experiences and the invaluable contributions of those who stand ready to lend a helping hand in times of need.