1,100 reasons to ride again

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Cuffe-McGinn Funeral Home in Lynn, including Joe Markey, back row left, Ellen Picardi, back row second from right, John Kobuszewski, back right, and Sally Cuffe, front right, donated $1,100 to motorcycle accident victims Richard McClory, second from left, back  row, and Christine Sullivan, front left.

BY GAYLA CAWLEY 

LYNN — “It can wait” is the message one Lynn couple is preaching as they recover from injuries sustained in a crash last summer caused by a distracted driver.

Richard “Red” McClory and Christine Sullivan, an engaged couple, were riding a motorcycle on Route 125 South in North Andover on Aug. 29, 2015 when they were struck by a motor vehicle.

McClory said they were coming home from his niece’s house when the distracted woman ran a red light, causing the accident. He said the woman, who was later cited for causing the accident, had a baby in the back seat of her car and had the minimum car insurance.

On Tuesday, McClory and Sullivan were presented with a donation of $1,080 from Cuffe-McGinn Funeral Home to help with their medical bills.

“One of our things is we want to help the community,” said Sally Cuffe, a consultant for the funeral home. “It certainly seemed like a worthwhile reason. It’s about developing awareness and helping someone else from having the same thing happening. We’re very much interested in getting the message out to the public.”

A separate event, “Back on Their Feet,” organized by the couple’s friends and family, will be held Saturday, March 26 from 1 to 4 p.m. at American Legion Post 6, at 157 N. Common St. A $10 donation is suggested. The fundraiser is co-supported by the couple’s family and friends, the Italian American Racing Team, Mean & Clean, and Check Twice Signs.

Kevin Wallace, the couple’s best friend, said the fundraiser will partly be about awareness for the dangers of distracted driving, including texting.

“It can wait,” Wallace said.

As a result of the accident, Sullivan was medflighted to Boston Medical Center, while McClory was taken by ambulance. Sullivan said she suffered broken pelvic bones, broken bones in the spinal area, a double compound fracture in her right leg and a broken ankle in her left leg. She was in the hospital and in rehab for nearly six weeks.

“I remember the impact so strongly,” Sullivan said. “Every once in awhile, visually, it comes back into my head.”

McClory remained in the hospital until November and was in rehab for 11 weeks. He said an infection set him back a couple of months. His right foot was crushed and has been in a cast for over six months. Sullivan said the entire bottom of her fiance’s foot was ripped off and is still healing. He needs nursing care to change the open wound daily.

McClory said he had to have two skin grafts for his foot, along with pins and needles. He also had multiple breaks in his toes.

The couple uses walkers and crutches to get around and neither is able to drive yet. Sullivan is awaiting another surgery in April to clean out some scar tissue, and was initially bedridden for three months due to pelvic and spinal injuries. She began walking again in the beginning of December and is on long-term disability from work. McClory, a construction worker, has also been unable to work while he gets back to full mobility.

After the accident, Sullivan said she never wants to get on a motorcycle again. McClory said he would ride again, although five months ago his answer would have been different. Both are still angry at the woman whose negligence has cost them.

“Our life is forever changed and she’s just flitting around in the world,” Sullivan said. “Through carelessness, our life is forever changed.”

To make a donation, visit: bikershelpingbikers.org.


 

Gayla Cawley can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.

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