Quickly completed PE in year 12 and then fitness studies at Victoria University. He became a personal trainer and motivational speaker.
But in 2021, disaster struck again. Quick was on a 9000km charity drive across Australia to raise money for the Stroke Foundation when he was hit by a car on the Sturt Highway near Nuriootpa, South Australia.
The horrific accident left him with a shattered pelvis, a broken leg, and another grueling year of rehab. “My gait has improved, but I’m just so damn slow,” says Quick. “I have [post-traumatic stress disorder] – the screeching of tires is burned into my brain.”
The stroke left Quick with an acquired brain injury, slurred speech and the loss of mobility in his right arm. Since being hit by the car, he uses a cane to get around and an electric wheelchair or tricycle for long distances.
But Quick, now 29, is determined to complete his odyssey to raise money stroke in childhood – affecting up to 600 Australians under the age of 18 each year – and promoting the need for social inclusion for young people with disabilities.
He will set off on Friday to cover the remaining 5250 kilometers 4 Point ride to the four extreme points of the Australian mainland.
“The reason I was here today was to challenge yourself and [consider] what you assume about someone living with a disability,” Quick told Footscray High students days before he left.
Quick describes his frustration at going back to school full-time after his stroke in 8th grade. “It was hard to find motivation because of my slow processing speed to understand things,” he says.
Quick’s buddies were great in class, he says, but he couldn’t keep up with them at lunch when they walked to McDonald’s.
He found himself spending his lunchtime in an office with teachers’ assistants. “[The aides] were great, but they weren’t my peers, they weren’t the people I was going to graduate with.”
The breakthrough came when one of Quick’s friends spent lunch with him every Wednesday in the assistants’ office.
“Now I could enjoy chatting with my mate. The accessibility problem was solved because he came to me.”
More friends started spending lunchtime with Quick in the assistants’ office and they eventually started hanging out at the basketball court, which was a manageable walk for Quick. “We were all learning,” he says.
Ryan Keenan, a friend from Footscray City College, says Quick taught him that everyone wants to feel involved.
“Tom has obviously been through a lot, but he doesn’t let that affect him,” says Keenan. “I think what he’s doing is really great and inspiring.”
Keenan says completing the 4 Points ride would be an incredible challenge for Quick after being hit by the car.
“I can’t imagine what it would have been like for him and his parents, who saw it all happen,” he says. “More credit to him for still being determined to get out there and finish what he started.”
Meanwhile, Quick mentally prepares for the epic ride. This time he has new safety protocols and adheres to secondary roads. So far he has raised $68,000 to help prevent, treat and beat stroke.
“I’m still thinking about the what-ifs, the time it’s going to take, the journey ahead, everything is going through my head.”
Follow Quick’s journey the4points.org.
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