Stuart Cook of the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter trust with mountainbiker Libby Cook, who has helped raise over $1000 for them. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Libby turns to chopper patron

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When Libby Slack took a tumble from her bike, rupturing her abdominal wall and cracking her ribs, the cyclist was beyond relieved to hear the roar of rotary blades approaching as she lay prone. It was a typically beautiful Nelson day in May when Libby rode Sharlands with her friend and dog.

However, the day took a sudden and dramatic turn.

As Libby cruised down Waterloo approaching Sharlands Creek, her front wheel was caught in the track, taking the handlebars in her abdomen as she went hurtling into the water.

Having had three children, Libby says the pain was right up there with giving birth.

Her screams attracted the attention of another mountainbiking group who put the call into the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter.

Libby says within what felt like minutes, the chopper landed to save her.

“They didn’t muck around, they were just so efficient and so caring.”

The rescue crew administered pain relief before flying her to Nelson Hospital for treatment.

“They create such an atmosphere of calm.”

The experience inspired Libby to raise funds for the organization which relies on the generosity of the community to survive.

“I thought about wine or biscuits, but thought I could do more.”

As it happens, Libby also runs a Nelson “mini” mountainbiker series for riders under 10, so she decided to donate the proceeds to rescue chopper.

“It’s all about building that sense of community.”

With more than 300 entrants, the mini-bike series raise $1200 for the trust.

“As soon as people found out proceeds were going to them, the wallets opened up.”

As for Libby’s recovery, while she has been back on the bike, her confidence is yet to be fully restored.

“I rode little Firball a couple of weeks ago, but I just wasn’t ready. It just takes time to trust your bike again.”