Just over two years after the horrific cycling accident that nearly claimed her life, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) brain injury patient Alexa Leary has won gold and silver for Australia at the August 2023 World Para Swimming Championships in Manchester. (Photo courtesy of Swimming Australia)
Lex powered to victory in the Women’s 100m Freestyle S9 in 1:00.24, blitzing her competitors with a time just 0.04s outside New Zealand great Sophie Pascoe’s championship record.
Lex backed up with silver in the women’s 50m freestyle S9 in 28.03, just .33 seconds behind Brazilian Mariana Ribeiro.
“I’ve come so far,” said Lex after her 100m victory.
“It’s a big thing for me that I’ve pushed through and done even better than what I was two years ago.”
The RBWH Foundation CEO Simone Garske said Lex’s stellar performance was a victory for the entire hospital.
“Lex holds a special place in the heart of the RBWH Foundation and has kept in close contact with the RBWH staff who treated and nursed her through the toughest fight of her life,” said Ms Garske.
“I know they will have been cheering her on and taking pride in the pivotal role they played in her miraculous recovery.”
In July 2021, the former junior national triathlete champion suffered traumatic brain injuries in a 70km/h accident on the Sunshine Coast.
Soon after the accident, the Leary family launched the inspirational fundraising campaign, MoveForLex, in partnership with the RBWH Foundation. In April this year, Lex was also the face of the Foundation’s Flex for Lex appeal, a month-long arm workout challenge.
The aim is to raise $1,000,000 to support WeCU, a new RBWH Intensive Care Unit (ICU) care program for families. Lex’s parents, Belinda and Russell, were moved by the plight of other families they met in ICU.
“When you sit in a hospital for so long, 12 hours a day, you see what’s needed,” said Lex’s father, Russell Leary.
Lex’s sights are now set on the 2024 Paris Paralympics in twelve months time.
“Thank you so much for all the support,” said Lex.
“The reason I’m here is because, literally, most of the people around me, they always support me non-stop. My mum and dad, love them more than anything.
“I’m actually very proud. I’m like, ‘Yeah Lex, you’ve outdone yourself!’”
For more information about WeCU, or to support this crucial program, click here.