Just last Friday morning, Canberra woman Kate Molineaux was cycling to work when she hit black ice on the bike path leading into the Bindubi street underpass, skidded into a fence and was catapulted over the bike's handlebars and into brush.
She was woken from an induced coma two days later in the intensive care unit at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney to be told she would never walk again.
She had suffered multiple broken ribs and fractures to her C2, C3 and T4 vertebrae.
The 36-year-old is a human resources manager at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. She is also a super-fit triathlete and Iron Woman and marathon competitor, the cruel hand of fate robbing her love of running.
Family friend Bronwen Whiting said one of Kate's brothers, Neal, from Wagga Wagga had received an exemption to be with her at the hospital in Sydney in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown, but arrived one day after she received her devastating prognosis.
"She's woken up out of this coma absolutely alone, strapped to the bed, can't move her head, still can't feel below her waist, no one is with her and they tell her she'll never walk again," Bronwen said.
"It's absolutely life-changing and it is still all new, so there are so many things that she doesn't know if she can do or not do.
"But Kate being Kate, I had a chat to her yesterday, she said she was trying to stay positive because it's what everyone else needs to hear. And my heart broke, 'I thought, Geez, you don't have to be positive for anyone. You're allowed to be heartbroken and devastated'."
Bronwen's husband John Hunt and Kate's triathlon coach Alex Price have started a fundraiser to prepare her for life beyond the accident and to help her remain as independent as possible.
Chief among the expenses will be modifying her Cook townhouse to accommodate a wheelchair and investigations into whether her car can be modified for her to drive or if a new one might be necessary.
It's not known if Neil or anyone else will be able to be by Kate's side when she is transferred to the spinal unit. The lockdown restrictions meant her clothes and some comforts such as books had to be sent to her in the hospital by post.
Bronwen said Kate, who did have movement above the waist, was grateful to the many people who helped her on the morning of the accident.
The cyclist who stopped and called the ambulance and stayed with her and made sure she wasn't moved. The fire brigade members and ambulance paramedics who transported her first to the Canberra Hospital before being airlifted by helicopter to the Prince of Wales.
Bronwen said her husband John received the call from the passerby at 7.55am to tell him about the accident.
"[The cyclist] stayed with her and made sure no one moved her because with the fractures, any movement could have been more devastating," she said.
"Then two ambulance officers were in the back with her in the ambulance while they took her to TCH and one of them was a triathlete, so managed to keep her distracted by discussing triathlons the entire drive. It's just been amazing."
Kate's family was from Wagga and Adelong. Her family in Canberra were her friends, work colleagues and sporting mates. Her coach Alex described her as "simply a beautiful human".
Kate was feeling the support.
"She's overwhelmed by it all at the moment," Bronwen said.
"John's been keeping track of the comments people are making on the GoFundMe page and she said she's just not up to reading them yet, it's all just bit too emotional.
"All her work colleagues, her triathlon colleagues, people she has met through various things, have been rallying behind her. It's what's really impressive about the Canberra community."
The GoFundMe page for Kate is here.