From near death injuries to Himalayan marathon

20 March 2017

Almost 15 years have passed since Colin Donald’s near-fatal motorcycle accident in which he received multiple breaks to his left leg; a fractured pelvis; a broken wrist; nerve damage; and a severed artery in his leg.

image: Colin Donald in running gear standing in front of a setting sun and mountain range

After numerous operations and a long stay at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Colin was admitted to Epworth for five months of rehabilitation.

“The staff and their care for the patients at Epworth Rehab was second to none”, said Colin this week. “I was 19 years old, stuck in a strange place and afraid I would never walk again”, he said. 

“Once I was able to manage leaving my bed and climb into a wheelchair, I started to attend my physio appointments. The amount of encouragement and personal commitment from the physiotherapy staff was just what I needed. They never focused on the negative, even coming to my room to encourage me to keep attending physio to try new things”. 

Although physical exercise was a major component of his rehabilitation, Colin was struck by the care he received. “The laughter and smiles of the loveliest young nurses you could ever meet is what encouraged me to keep pushing forward”, he said. 

Those nurses were Bronwyn and Chantel. Bronwyn encouraged me through the hard times when I was down and always had a way to put a smile on my face. Everyone loved her quick wit, sarcasm and humour, along with her dedication to her patients. 

Sadly, Bronwyn passed away in the Bali bombing in 2013. “I was very fond of her and still think of her quite often when I recall my time in hospital. She would have loved seeing me walking again”, he said. 

And Colin did start walking again. In fact, he has recently found a passion for fitness and running. “I was working as a concreter and I built up my strength over time. Someone suggested I attend a fitness training camp and I became really interested in personal fitness. I 

have since participated in fun runs, mud runs and now a marathon” he said. 

In May, Colin will attempt to run a marathon in Nepal. The Mount Everest Marathon, run by The Australian Himalayan Foundation, is known as one of the toughest marathons on earth, running across the mountainous terrain from Everest Base Camp 42km back to Namche Bazar. The Foundation raises funds for the region’s poorest children.

Colin attributes special meaning to his marathon attempt: “Firstly, it will be exactly 15 years to the date of my motorcycle accident, where I was told I may possibly never walk again. Secondly, I have decided to raise money for the people of Nepal who lost everything during the earthquakes of 2015,” he said.

For details, view Colin's Everest Marathon Facebok page​