They came, they spun, they sweated — and they did it for Tracy Dort-Kyne.
Gears Leaside played host to a late-January spin-a-thon fundraiser for Dort-Kyne, a once active cyclist who is now a quadriplegic after crashing her bike into a tree while training for a race.
Her doctors estimate her ongoing care will cost $10 million, so Dort-Kyne’s supporters came out in full force and helped raise more than $2,000.
A friend of Dort-Kyne’s for 20 years, Debbie Gray, said she’s blown away by how many people are touched by Dort-Kyne’s story.
“Tracy’s accident has brought together an enormous community that is growing,” Gray said. “And I would call these people part of Tracy’s team or Team Tracy.”
For only the second time, Dort-Kyne was able to attend one of these fundraisers and got a chance to feel the community’s love and support for her first hand.
“It’s so incredible,” said Dort-Kyne. “I’m humbled by every single one of those people. I’m so grateful.”
Triathlon coach Christina Kaufmann, who heard about Tracy’s injury through a friend, organized the event.
“It really has nothing to do with me,” Kaufmann said. “It has to do with all the people who show up. It’s one thing to have an idea but you need people to come out.”
Dort-Kyne’s complete C3/C4 spinal cord injury was not only life-changing for her, but for her family. Her mother Joan and sister Lynn came to live in Toronto from Ottawa and St. Louis, Missouri. Dort-Kyne’s sister Lesley Dort-Lendvai already lived in Toronto and now balances her work and family life with organizing Dort-Kyne’s affairs.
“We’re fighters,” Dort-Kyne says. “They’re fighting for me. They’re fighting for my life. They’re fighting because they don’t know what else to do. And all they want to do is help.”
The 42-year-old Dort-Kyne is a single mom to Christian, 13, Malcolm, 11, and Thomas, 7, and speaks highly of their strength.
“They have a quiet, non-verbal type of strength,” Dort-Kyne said. “They’ve been through so much in their young lives and we still have a lot of challenges ahead of us. They’re going to have to maintain their bravery and continue to be strong and have courage for the rest of their lives because they’ve got a mother in a wheelchair.”
Dort-Kyne is currently residing at Lyndhurst Centre of Toronto Rehab. When she leaves, she’ll need a new home that accommodates her wheelchair. Dort-Kyne will also require full-time care and a handicapped accessible van.
In the meantime, even though her life is going down a different path than she envisioned, Dort-Kyne says she’s enjoying the journey.
“My trials and tribulations are not what keep me going,” she says. “It’s the people around me.”
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