A YEAR ago, Brendan Walsh started running. A year later, he’s still running.
Not for himself, but for Troy Miles, the ex-Newcastle Knight who is recovering in hospital after a horrific motorcycle crash in South Australia left the father-of-three a quadriplegic.
As Walsh describes it, he was a fan of Miles when he was a player with the Lakes United rugby league club, and thought “we have to do something” because “a community gets behind their own”, galvanising support and founding the Running for Miles Committee.
Next month, Walsh will compete in the Melbourne Marathon, raising money for the committee, which aims to complete the necessary alterations to the Miles family home so that it is livable ahead of his eventual return from Sydney’s Royal Rehab hospital.
But, as Walsh has found, keeping community momentum going is much like running a marathon.
“The main factor behind this run is to help continue this awareness about how Troy is going and the help he needs,” Miles explained to the Newcastle Herald.
“Life moves on, but for Troy not a lot has changed – he’s still there, still in rehab a year later. It’s tragic.”
As well as being a quadriplegic, Miles suffers from a condition known as extreme sensitivity.
The condition prevents others from touching him.
The cruelness of that is even a hug could trigger a severe seizure.
But despite the challenges Miles faces, he is well-liked inside the hospital and out of it, inspiring others with his perseverance and ability to smile in the face of adversity.
Walsh recalls the Running for Miles benefit night in March this year.
The night was attended by a broad cross-section of the Newcastle rugby league community.
Miles himself made the trip to Newcastle, which was itself a challenge given his condition.
Miles said at the time he was blown away by the support and called it an “awesome feeling” to be amongst friends.
“When we had that night, I remember Nicole [Troy’s wife] telling me how much it meant to the family,” Walsh said of the evening.
“I think it gives them a bit of a distraction, when they know that there’s people pulling for them.
“It’s been a year we’ve been on this journey but I want to put it back at the front of people’s minds.
“He needs it.”
The Running for Miles committee is seeking business donations for a silent auction in the lead-up to the Melbourne Marathon. A donation can also be made through a direct deposit.
Account number: 369342