Man defies odds after told he would not walk again
PETER Pellicaan has come a long way since he struggled to stand and say his vows on his wedding day more than seven years ago.
A horror motorbike crash five weeks before his wedding left Mr Pellicaan fighting for his life and had to be airlifted by the Toowoomba-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter to Brisbane, where doctors told him he may never walk again.
But he defied the odds and stood proudly next to his wife Leone, if only for a short time during the ceremony.
Mr Pellicaan gave back to the organisation by riding a bicycle and fundraising for the charity in its Tour de Rescue from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast on Sunday.
Back on December 6, 2009, Mr Pellicaan was an avid motorbike rider and was riding with a friend.
"My mate and I had swapped bikes because he had recently purchased an off-road rally bike. I was riding on the highway and went onto a dirt section of track to check out how it handled off-road," he said.
"I looked to get back on the highway and as I did that, the dirt track cut out. I hit a huge rut at more than 100kmh."
Mr Pellicaan was flung from his bike and cartwheeled more than 50m in the air before he hit the ground. He had six fractures in his vertebrae but the real damage was to his pelvis, which he said was the first area of his body to make contact with the road.
"The most damage was to my pelvis on the right side, it was completely in pieces, shattered and floating around inside my hip pocket," he said.
Despite immense pain and injuries, Mr Pellicaan called his fiancé and remembered apologising for injuring himself just five weeks out from their wedding.
Doctors told him he would never walk again, but he was determined to prove them wrong.
It was a long and painful road to recovery and when it was time for his wedding, Mr Pellicaan could barely stand.
But he wasn't going to let his physical injuries stand in the way of marrying the love of his life.
Mr Pellicaan decided to put all his groomsmen on crutches and got married sitting in an armchair, managing to find the strength to stand long enough to watch his wife walk down the aisle.
Eight years on, he has made a miraculous recovery, cementing a strong passion for adventure with another two-wheeled bike in the process, albeit with a little less motor.
"My physio told me cycling was the best thing for the rehab of my hip. I'd done a bit of mountain-biking but this really got me back into road cycling," he said.
Mr Pellicaan has competed in three LifeFlight cycling challenges in 2013, 2015 and this year.