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Triathlete Alexa Leary celebrates 20th birthday in hospital after freak cycling accident

A triathlete lucky to be alive after a horror bike crash has celebrated her 20th birthday in hospital as she painfully learns to walk again.     

Alexa Leary was training in Pomona, near Noosa on the Sunshine Coast, when she was thrown off her bike at more than 65km/h after clipping the wheel of the bike in front of her On July 17.

The crash left her with traumatic brain injury, blood clots, and broken bones and she was not expected to survive.

Alexa Leary (pictured with her parents Russell and Belinda) was left fighting for life after a bike crash left her with serious brain damage and multiple fractures 

Her family and friends have been overwhelmed with the support pouring from all around the globe.

They launched a campaign in her honour called Move for Lex, urging those who are able to get out and get moving to do so on behalf of those who can’t. 

‘This movement we want to create for her is to inspire people to get out and get moving for those who can’t,’ its website reads.

‘So join in and we can’t to see everyone out and about doing #moveforlex and rocking some of the t-shirts or hats her sisters have created together.’

Alexa (pictured with father, Russell) is in Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital living with serious brain damage. Her family remain hopeful about her fighting spirit

Alexa (pictured with father, Russell) is in Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital living with serious brain damage. Her family remain hopeful about her fighting spirit

The campaign, which has 28,000 followers August 7, raises money for charities close to Ms Leary’s heart. 

NRL greats Johnathan Thurston and Mat Rogers, Olympians Ashleigh Gentle, and Ashleigh Gentle, and basketball stars Patty Mills and Joe Ingles are among its supporters. 

Ms Leary celebrated her 20th birthday on Wednesday in Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital where she has spent the past 30 days.

‘We do see that she is in there but will take a lot of time to come out. The love and support keep coming and we couldn’t be more grateful,’ her father Russell said.

Her parents Russell and Belinda tearfully recalled the moment they were told about Alexa’s condition.

‘They said she’ll never be the same again. That’s pretty hard to take,’ Russell told 9 News.

Love ones of the champion triathlete (pictured) have organised a national campaign 'Move for Lex' urging those who can get up and move to do so on behalf of those who can't

Love ones of the champion triathlete (pictured) have organised a national campaign ‘Move for Lex’ urging those who can get up and move to do so on behalf of those who can’t

She celebrated her 20th birthday in hospital on Wednesday (pictured), surrounded by her loved ones

She celebrated her 20th birthday in hospital on Wednesday (pictured), surrounded by her loved ones 

Ms Leary is still in hospital trying to recover from serious brain damage that leaves her barely able to move around her room.

‘That first week was touch and go. another few weeks in ICU and, you know, it’s just taking each day as it comes,’ her mother said. 

‘She doesn’t know her name. She doesn’t know where she is. She can’t move her right side.

Her sister, Maddison Lee, said the support her family received not only put a smile on Alexa’s face, but also helped them process her injuries.

‘The idea actually came from one of our family friends,’ Madison said.

‘She texted me one afternoon and said, ‘Hey I can’t stop thinking about Lex and I’ve been thinking how lucky I am to be able to exercise. 

‘I had this crazy idea that we should just ask people to hashtag ‘Move for Lex’ and see if anybody gets involved’.

‘There’s people who write in and share their stories of similar experiences or say that they’ve never met Lex but the story got them out of bed that day and encouraged them to be grateful for the things they can do.’

Alexa Leary (pictured) sustained major injuries in the accident that occurred when her bike clipped the wheel of another rider

Alexa Leary (pictured) sustained major injuries in the accident that occurred when her bike clipped the wheel of another rider 

Ms Leary represented Australia at the world titles in Switzerland where she finished second in 2019

Ms Leary represented Australia at the world titles in Switzerland where she finished second in 2019

Earlier in her recovery, doctors discovered a series of blood clots on her brain and her family were told Ms Leary suffered major brain damage in the fall.  

Leary suffered a broken scapula, ribs, shoulder blade and wrist, along with a collapsed lung, in the crash.

Her boyfriend, Wil O’Dwyer, shared an image of Leary to his Facebook page on Monday, captioned: ‘Stay strong my darling, I love you, you can do this x’.

Mr O’Dwyer followed up with another emotional post on Tuesday.

‘What I would give to just to be with you right now, keep fighting. I love you x,’ he wrote alongside a photo of the couple.  

Athlete Alexa Leary's boyfriend Will O'Dwyer (pictured together) has posted an emotional tribute to his girlfriend, who is fighting for life in Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital after a horror bike crash

Athlete Alexa Leary’s boyfriend Will O’Dwyer (pictured together) has posted an emotional tribute to his girlfriend, who is fighting for life in Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital after a horror bike crash

Leary's boyfriend, Wil O'Dwyer posted tributes to her on his social media (pictured). Friends and family have commented showing their support for the couple

Leary’s boyfriend, Wil O’Dwyer posted tributes to her on his social media (pictured). Friends and family have commented showing their support for the couple 

The posts were flooded with comments from friends and family, all sharing their support for the young athlete and her loved ones.

‘Sending you all the love, positivity, strength and hope imaginable. Keep that positive energy going Wil, she’s got this. Praying every millisecond,’ one well-wisher wrote.

Another remarked on the resilience of the young athlete.

‘She is so strong and so are you Wil. She’s going to come out of this on top like she has time and time again. Sending all my love and prayers every second,’ they said.

‘You are a ray of sunshine and the Leary household has never been so cold but you have to keep fighting…we want our big sister back,’ her brother, Max Leary, said on his Instagram 

Leary’s dad, Russell, was one of the first people on the scene. 

Sunshine Coast based triathlete Alexa Leary, 19, (pictured) is fighting for her life after she was seriously injured at Pomona, near Noosa, on Saturday

Sunshine Coast based triathlete Alexa Leary, 19, (pictured) is fighting for her life after she was seriously injured at Pomona, near Noosa, on Saturday

The talented teenager is a rising star in elite triathlon circles, and was national champion in 2019 and 2020

The talented teenager is a rising star in elite triathlon circles, and was national champion in 2019 and 2020

He recalled the horrifying moment he saw his daughter lying in a gutter.

‘I always follow behind the team when Alexa is training of a morning and as I came over the hill an ambulance raced by me,’ he told the Courier Mail.

‘I then saw Alexa lying in the gutter and was told she had clipped the wheel of another rider causing her to fall. 

‘They transferred her straight to Brisbane and she has already had an operation to repair major knee damage while they also took half of her scalp off to release pressure on the brain.’

Leary represented Australia at the world titles in Switzerland where she finished second in 2019.

She is widely considered a rising star in the gruelling sport, which involves swimming, cycling and running. 

Mr Leary also said his daughter is ‘loved by all’ and is a ‘jovial character.’

‘She is one of the most amazing people there is and someone who gives everything to the world,’ he said. 

Leary started competing in junior triathlons from the age of six.

When competing in a race in Canberra back in 2015, she had another accident, with more then 30 stitches in her feet and a cut-up muscle in her right ankle.

According to website bindinutrition, Alexa is ‘very adventurous, loves trying new things and prides herself on getting out of her comfort zone.’

The youngster been in a coma at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital since the tragic accident - and doctors have informed her family she suffered serious brain damage in the fall

The youngster been in a coma at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital since the tragic accident – and doctors have informed her family she suffered serious brain damage in the fall

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