BACK ON HIS FEET

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian

During a State-level motocross event in 2002, then 12-year-old Geraldton competitor Callan Bancilhon’s bike landed on the back of his head, causing him a traumatic brain injury and leaving doctors certain he would never walk or talk again.

In the 15 years since, Mr Bancilhon has been proving the experts wrong by relearning to walk, talk and regain his physical independence.

His mother Julie said her family was so determined to prove her son’s medical prognosis wrong that her daughter Lainie created a crowdfunding webpage to finance her brother’s visit to a rehabilitation centre in Los Angeles.

After successfully completing three months in a brain injury recovery program, Mr Bancilhon is now back in Geraldton, walking and talking with some difficulty, and following a tailored exercise regime.

Ms Bancilhon said it had not been easy to find her son a recovery and support program suitable for him in Australia.

“A lot of it is tailored to spinal injuries, and not so much of it caters for brain injuries,” she said.

“That’s why we decided to send him to America, and since coming back we’ve been blessed to find a gym in Geraldton that helps him.

“A lot of recovery training can be quite passive, a bit more reserved and just focuses on stretches, but Cal loves to be pushed.”

Since becoming a regular at the recently opened SkyBox Studio, Mr Bancilhon has been working to improve his balance, mobility, flexibility, hand-eye co-ordination, strength and durability with a series of challenging exercises, including boxing and push-up competitions.

Gym owner Teegan Vlahos said Mr Bancilhon was one of her most motivated clients. “Cal is probably one of our hardest working SkyBox family members,” Ms Vlahos said.

“If I say do 12 of something, for him it has to be 16 or 20, he never says no.”

Ms Bancilhon said despite her son’s challenges, he led a happy life and enjoyed sleeping, biking riding and walking his Jack Russell terrier Nigel.

“Cal has a very sunny disposition,” she said.

“We want to thank SkyBox, especially Teegan, for taking on this challenge for us.”

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