Accident inspires man to raise awareness, funds

With less than a month to go before his fourth-annual bike tour, Donny Little of Kenora already has raised some $4,000 for the Brain Injury Services of Northern Ontario (BISNO)–a cause near and dear to his heart.
Little, now 32, was a typical teenager in the summer of 1985, spending most of his time thinking about friends, family, and girls.
But returning from a dance at Falcon Lake one August evening, about 65 km west of Kenora, Little fell asleep at the wheel. His vehicle went off the road and collided head-on with a rock cut.
The impact sent him flying through the back window of the car, landing on his head 50 feet away from where his car had stopped.
In an instant, Little’s world–and those around him–changed and would remain altered forever.
“When I was in school, I would get marks that were in the 80s and 90s,” he said while in Fort Frances last week for a BISNO tag day at Safeway.
“When I got back to school, I started to have trouble with my short-term memory and my marks dropped. That was very hard for me,” he recalled.
Little was in a coma, and then in and out of the hospital, for the next year. Twice, doctor’s gave up on his survival, but he never did.
Today, Little is leading a productive life on his own in Kenora, with the support and love of his family and friends, and BISNO.
Always active in the community, ranging from helping the elderly to coaching young people, Little wanted to generate a greater awareness of brain injury while raising funds to help pay for services for the Kenora/Rainy River districts.
To accomplish this, he decided to ride his bike from Kenora to Dryden in one day. The following year, he decided to do it again, but this time from Dryden to Kenora.
“I really like to ride and look at everything along the way,” Little noted. “I usually don’t think of too much when I am riding. I just try to keep my mind on what I am doing and watch the road.”
This August, Little again is planning to embark on his annual bike ride, only this time leaving from Kenora and riding in one day to Fort Frances. The following day will consist of both bike riding, as well in a van, riding from Fort Frances to Dryden, with the last day taking him from Dryden back to Kenora.
A daunting and exhausting task, but Little is more than ready to go and is looking forward to the challenge.
“When I am on my bike, I don’t usually think of how far I have to go,” he admitted. “I just remember what I am doing it for and that keeps me going.
“I can only try and do my best,” he added.
Hoping to make a difference in the lives of those living with brain injuries, Little wants to ensure dollars are available to provide much-needed services to people in their own community.
Services in the Kenora/Rainy River districts currently have been operating with most of the funding being generated through the efforts of Little and his many supporters.
“I am very proud of him,” beamed his mother, Donna Sillery. “To think of how far he has come, it really is just wonderful and we are all so blessed.”
Since beginning his annual bike tour, Little has raised more than $17,000 for BISNO, and is hoping to raise more this year with his upcoming ride.
For more information about the Donny Little Bike Tour, contact Dawn Brigham at 482-2083.