Banff’s Crazy Larry ‘overwhelmed’ by community response after serious cycling crash
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In a hospital bed recovering from a serious cycling crash, Crazy Larry Melnik still has plenty to smile about.
Bruised, with a fractured skull and four-inch gash on his forehead, two black eyes, and road burn on his torso and arms, the well known and well loved Banff resident has been overwhelmed by the support he’s seen since a cycling accident near the national park’s gate on Friday.
"When I fell, I don't remember anything after that," he said. "I remember waking up in ICU. STARS Air Ambulance picked me up and took me to Foothills.”
Over the weekend, Canmore mom Lisa Rosvold set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Melnik, which at press time had collected more than $17,000 in donations.
"I can't believe it," Melnik said, his eyes welling up with tears at points. "I am so overwhelmed. I'm overwhelmed by the enormous giving and warmth from the community."
Rosvold had seen through Melnik's Facebook page that he'd come across hard times and wanted to do something to help.
"I thought it would be a good way to show Larry that the community has his back and that we want him to heal properly, so that he can continue to share his enthusiasm and make people smile," Rosvold said. "I was hoping to raise maybe $5,000 and, in 21 hours, it was just under $10,000."
Rosvold said Melnik gives all of his own time, money and energy to buying balloons and doing things that make people smile.
"He ties balloons for my kids at community events," she said.
Melnik said he tries to help anyone he can.
"I got into tying balloons because I saw someone charging for balloons, and I thought helping someone from the heart shouldn't have a cost involved," he said.
From his hospital bed, Melnik praised Rosvold and thanked the Bow Valley community for their generosity and for thinking of him.
Melnik was on his way to collect a cheque from the president of the Mountain Biking Association of Alberta, for balloons, when he fell, he said.
He had plans to ride Singletrack 6, a six-day mountain bike race on Saturday, and was training for Tour Divide, a 2,745-mile mountain bike race from Canada to the Mexican border.