Supporting Lauren Parker
Lauren Parker, 29, a promising professional triathlete, became a paraplegic after a freak accident during a training ride.
At the time, Lauren was training for Iron Man Australia in Port Macquarie and riding high after a second placing at the legendary Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
But with the accident, everything changed for Lauren. “I felt that my life was finished, I couldn’t be an athlete again,” she said. “I was stressed out about how I was going to pay bills and medical expenses.”
At the time of her accident and subsequently, Lauren was supported by her training partner, best friend and advocate Brad Fernley.
As a member of Triathlon Australia, Lauren held a QBE Accident and Health policy.
QBE paid Lauren’s insurance claim in full within two weeks of her accident. “It really gave me security at a time when I most needed it,” said Lauren.
Brad continued to support Lauren as she spent time in hospital and then in a rehabilitation centre.
QBE Injury Management Advisor Sarah Ahern contacted Brad and supported Lauren and Brad in the post-settlement period.
"Through my conversations with Brad, it was very clear to me that he was struggling with what he had witnessed and that he was not okay,” Sarah said. “It was so important that as the number one supporter of Lauren, he needed support.”
Brad, Sarah and Lauren stayed in touch over the weeks and months after Lauren’s accident and remain in contact today.
“Sarah has been an amazing support to both Brad and myself,” Lauren said.
Looking to the future
Lauren is now focused on a career in paratriathlons.
Less than a year after her accident she qualified and competed in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, where she won a bronze medal.
She now aims to represent Australia at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and become the first Australian Paratriathlon World Champion.