Cycling Tour to help others

When Clinton resident Colleen Alexander was severely injured in the fall of 2011 while cycling along Boston Post Road, her life changed forever — and now, she’s working to raise awareness about cycling safety, and raise money for the hospital she attributes to helping her reclaim her life.
On Oct. 20, Alexander, along with Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, is organizing the first annual Cycling Tour, which will take place at the Farmington Canal Linear Trail beginning at 8 a.m.
The event is a tour, not a race, so that anybody can join in the fun and help raise funds to help other Gaylord Specialty Healthcare patients.
Alexander, an avid cyclist, was severely injured when she was cycling and was struck by a freight truck.
The accident left her with major open wounds, damaged legs and a crushed pelvic bone. Despite being unresponsive twice, and undergoing several surgeries (with several more to go), she is now able to walk and has persevered.
She credits Gaylord Specialty Healthcare with not only healing her body, but also giving her her life back.
“My recovery would not have been possible without the determination and passion that is shown by the physical therapists, doctors and staff at Gaylord,” she said.
“Their mission to help patients become active once again is evident in the extensive services and caring atmosphere they provide.
“At Gaylord, they heal the whole person – not just the injuries.  I’m organizing this event to give back not because they saved my life, but because they let me reclaim my life.”
The goal for the Cycling Tour is to raise funds to purchase four adaptive bikes for patients of Gaylord Specialty Healthcare.
“Getting on the adaptive bicycle for the first time after the event was so freeing and a symbol of hope for me,” Alexander said. “I want to be able to provide that for others.”
Adaptive bikes, which cost around $3,000 each, are often three wheels and are customized for people with a wide variety of disabilities, offering greater stability and function as they access bike paths, trails, and roads.
“Colleen’s road to recovery is extraordinary. Her compassion, coupled with her abilities to empower and educate others, is uplifting as she still continues to heal from such a tragic accident,” said Todd Munn, coordinator of Gaylord Hospital Sports Association.
“On behalf of Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, we are honored to be supporting Colleen in this event and appreciate her hard work in providing additional resources to our patients.”
Gaylord Specialty Healthcare (GSH), headquartered in Wallingford, Connecticut is a not-for profit long-term 137 bed acute care hospital that specializes in the care and treatment of people with medically complex and intensive rehabilitation issues.
Gaylord also operates  outpatient therapy centers in Wallingford and North Haven, and sleep medicine centers in Glastonbury, Guilford, North Haven and Trumbull.

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