Catholic Professionals Luncheon: a story of hope, strength and perseverance

Lauren Parker, whose highly-promising career as a triathlete took a decidedly different and unplanned path following an accident just over one year ago, was the guest speaker at a recent Assembly of Catholic Professionals luncheon held at Fort Scratchley in Newcastle.

The accident - Lauren hit a guard rail at 45 kms per hour after both tyres on her bike burst while on a training ride - resulted in life-changing injuries.

These injuries included a punctured lung, a broken scapula, broken ribs, a shattered pelvis, a broken T12 vertebrae and spinal cord damage. Lauren was admitted to the ICU at The John Hunter Hospital and underwent spinal surgery within hours of the accident. The heroic work of the doctors saved Lauren's life and left her paralysed from the belly button down. Doctors have given her a very small chance of ever walking again.  

Lauren talked about how she did the unthinkable – in April, just 12-months after the accident, she won a Commonwealth Games bronze medal in the women’s para-triathlon held on the Gold Coast recently. She also has a silver medal from the World Series in Japan.

“Racing in a racing chair is very technical and it will take me a few years to get really good at it,” she said.

“I have now set my sights on getting a gold medal at the World Championships to be held in September on the Gold Coast.”

This despite needing ongoing rehabilitation and recovery, all of which is challenging and extremely expensive and all of this without a sponsor.

Reflecting the luncheon’s theme – the Power Of Community – Lauren attributed her medal success to not only the team of people around her such as her coach and her physio but also to her family, friends and many in the Newcastle community

Barry Urwin, the MC for the day, urged attendees to support Lauren.

For anyone in our community – the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle - interested in providing support for the Lauren Parker Foundation, please visit Lauren's website. You can also make donation via Lauren's GoFundMe page.

Image courtesy of Lauren Parker (c) Lauren Parker

John Kingsley-Jones Image
John Kingsley-Jones

John Kingsley-Jones is Head of Diocesan Communications