Elijah Arranz was, and still is, a talented young athlete who loved to run. He competed in long distance running, represented the ACT at Nationals for Cross Country and in 2015, he ran his first City2Surf at the age of 14 - running it in under an hour - 57:55!
Only three months passed and Elijah was involved in a freak skydiving accident where the tandem instructor, Tony Rokov, quickly manoeuvred his body to protect Elijah, however, sadly did not survive the crash.
From the impact of the crash, Elijah suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, multiple broken bones including a base of skull fracture as well as a couple of lacerated organs. After seven months in rehab, Elijah started to slowly learn how to talk and eat again. Elijah spent just four days short of one year at the Westmead Children’s Hospital.
Over the last couple of years, Elijah has gained a lot of strength and can now walk short distances using a walking frame.
I knew of Elijah through his dad who came to the gym where I am the Manager. I heard about the accident when it happened and it hit me hard. I felt so sorry for the family of the instructor, but a hero he became and I couldn't imagine how it was for Elijah who had gone from being a great runner, to having it taken away from him (for now).
So I wanted to help him. I'm not a big runner myself but this gave me the motivation to do anything. I wanted Elijah to be able to participate in the City2surf again so this year I am going to push him the whole way (yes, even Heartbreak Hill!) to give him that feeling again and in memory of Tony Rokov, the ultimate hero.
As we know, support is the glue that holds everything together and Elijah had a lot of this. Not only did the Westmead Children’s Hospital help Elijah reach every single goal set, from simply moving his fingers to eventually completely smashing goals using different walking frames, this incredible hospital saved Elijah’s life - something that wasn’t expected in those first 48 hours.
Because of this, I want to smash this run to help them in return.
We appreciated any support you can offer and thank you kindly in advance.