Fundraising thrust with a vision for Bevan's future – Gisborne Herald

In January of last year, an outing at the beach changed the life of Gisborne man Bevan Vendt.
Always an active person, a quad bike accident left him with multiple injuries, the worst of those a brain injury that damaged his optic nerve and has left him with less than 5 percent vision.
He spent three months in the acquired brain injury rehabilitation unit in Wellington.
His family and friends are now raising money for treatment at the Fedorov Restore Vision Clinic in Berlin which specialises in non-invasive electrical stimulation treatment — a process that combines the science of ophthalmology and neurology to help restore sight.
Bevan’s sister-in-law, Annalyse Vendt, is helping through a Givealittle campaign with the aim of raising $80,000.
“We’re hoping to get him to Berlin this year,” she said.
“It’s the only place we know of that has had successful treatments. We’ve spoken to someone who’s been through the exact treatment and they had a 25 percent improvement in their vision.”
Bevan was an active sportsman, including competing in the Life Education fundraiser Fight for Life in 2016. Since his accident he has not let the grass grow under his feet, taking to the swimming pool with a vengeance.
Last year, having hit the pool for some training through Parafed Gisborne, Tairāwhiti as part of his rehabilitation, he decided to take on the 45.5km Swim the Distance challenge — the equivalent of swimming from Midway to Mahia.
He smashed his goal, swimming and power-running 50.4km in the allotted time.
Parafed Gisborne, Tairāwhiti awarded him Athlete of the Year in 2021.
“My brain is still healing. It’s been a bit restricted and I still get fatigued easily,” he said. It’s a byproduct of having a serious brain injury and I’ll probably have that for ever. I do get fatigued easier that what I used to.”
Despite that hindrance, he finished the Burn & Earn Challenge at the Live Free Health and Fitness gym and is shaping up for the next six-week challenge starting next week.
His family has rallied and are organising other fundraisers. The next is a games night at the Cosmopolitan Club on June 25.
“We’ve had some amazing sponsors and donors contributing to it,” Annalyse said.
A bingo night on July 30 has sold out, and Bevan is already thinking about the Swim the Distance challenge 2022.
He and his whanau appreciate all the community support they have received, and he and a carer are hoping to head to Germany before the end of the year.
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