Cardinia Life “family” gets Kelly back on her feet

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Cardinia Life member, Kelly Fitzgerald, says she has the staff at Cardinia Life to thank for her incredible recovery from a serious bike injury.

Kelly, 58, was on top of the world and the fittest she had ever been after joining the Cardinia Tri-Squad as a hobby away from her busy home life.

The mother of six and grandmother of eight found a particular passion for cycling after joining the club, riding 2000km to raise money for children with cancer.

Unfortunately, one day in 2021- while Kelly was feeling “fitter than ever,” she was clipped from behind while mountain biking in Garfield- an accident that saw her hospitalized for 11 days, including six in a coma.

“I broke my back and neck; I left the hospital not even able to lift an empty coffee cup, never mind the kettle,” Kelly explained.

Despite that and the pain that she described as a “200 out of 10” in parts of her body, Kelly decided to focus on her areas of strength and how she could make a recovery.

The inspirational woman presented herself to Cardinia Life and discussed a recovery plan, using the gym and pool and friendly staff to work on improving her strength and mobility daily.

Leisure Manager Paige Kristalyn said that Kelly’s recovery and positive attitude helped bring a community back to Cardinia Life post-COVID.

“Her growth in terms of (recovering from) the injury she sustained was one thing, but I think her personal growth was what I really admired seeing,” she said.

“People gravitate towards Kelly; everyone thinks she is inspiring and wants to be around her. It is now at the point that she wants to join our team and is doing hours as a swim instructor, and there is great feedback from all that she has worked with.”

Kelly credited her recovery and the opportunity to gain training as a swim instructor as something uplifting to her.

“I have done some shadowing hours here at the pool, and the staff does believe in me… that I can actually do this (recover fully and take her own classes),” she added.

“This place, they see me as a person… I am not just a number here. I can’t thank everyone here enough for their support; they are more than a team. They are a family.”

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