Thirty-year-old Toby Lyndon knows he is lucky to be alive. And so his daily mantra is to make the most of every day of his life.
On 10 October 2009, Toby’s life changed forever when he was struck by a train near Wollongong, after attending a mate’s 21st birthday party.
He lost both legs, suffered a brain injury, a collapsed lung, and multiple other injuries which left him in a coma for three weeks. Then followed the best part of a year in hospital followed by intensive rehabilitation as he learned to walk again with his prosthetic legs.
Despite the pain, the trauma and the frustration, Toby has maintained an incredibly positive attitude to life. Early this year he moved to Canberra, homeless, but excited to have set a new goal in life, to become a triathlete with an eye to enter elite competitions in the future.
Toby has always loved sport. As a teenager he competed in ironman events as a member of surf lifesaving clubs on the South Coast. He was also a skilled basketballer while studying physics at the University of Wollongong. For most people the loss of both legs would have ended any serious sporting ambitions – but not for Toby.
For the past seven months, while living out of his car in Canberra, Toby has trained daily at the Australian Institute of Sport, determined to become a paralympian with his sights firmly set on representing Australia at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
However, last month Toby faced another significant setback. After having a meal at the Red Cross Roadhouse in Civic and having his clothes washed by Orange Sky Australia, he was driving to find a safe place to park and rest for the night when his new prosthetic legs became caught in the steering wheel, sending his car crashing into a light pole at Lyneham. Fortunately, Toby wasn’t hurt but his car (which was his home) was a write-off.
Toby never lost his focus or his can-do attitude, catching the bus to training every day and then back to his wrecked car to sleep. But a week later, Toby’s car was broken into and most of his belongings were stolen.
On hearing of Toby’s plight, his friends, Noreen Vu and Jeremy Lasek, felt compelled to do something to help.
‘Despite everything, Toby is one of the most positive people you’ll ever meet,’ Noreen said. ‘He treasures his independence, doesn’t seek sympathy or handouts, and is just grateful to have been provided emergency accommodation while he tries to get his life back together.’
‘We are launching a crowdfunding campaign called ‘Wheels for Toby’ to give him a helping hand and help Toby get his life back on track. Toby needs two sets of wheels; a new customised car to give him back his independence, and a special custom built wheelchair to enable him to compete in his first-ever triathlon, the Proximity Canberra Triathlon Festival on 9 February next year,’ Noreen said.
A website: https://wheelsfortoby.org/ and funding site: https://www.gofundme.com/wheels-for-toby have been set up to enable people to make a donation to help Toby out.
‘This is a time of year when we think about people like Toby who are doing it tough,’ Jeremy said. ‘We are hoping Canberra families, businesses, schools, sporting groups, and any organisation that cares, will make a contribution to help Toby get his life back together. We have shown so many times in the past that Canberra has a big heart; we are asking the local community to dig deep again by supporting ‘Wheels for Toby’.’
Official Website: https://wheelsfortoby.org/
Fundraiser website: https://www.gofundme.com/wheels-for-toby