'You can achieve anything' - Tetraplegic car crash survivor set for 50K handbike race

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A tetraplegic car crash survivor preparing for a 50-kilometre race on a handbike to raise funds for the rescue helicopter service that saved him says you can achieve anything with a positive attitude.

Andy Corles is a tetraplegic having crashed off the road at the tip of the Coromandel Peninsula.
Source: Seven Sharp

Seven Sharp met up with Andy Corles who suffered a broken neck three years ago when his car crashed off the road on a bend near Whangapoua at the tip of the Coromandel Peninsula, less than a couple of kilometres from his home.

The 42-year-old is preparing for the biggest physical challenge of what he describes as his new life.

He's entered the annual Coromandel cycling race on Saturday October 28, taking part in the 50-kilometre event to satisfy his own sense of achievement, but more importantly to raise some funds for the organisation whose crew stablisied him and rushed him to hospital.

That's the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust which operates the Auckland-Coromandel Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

"I owe them my life. It's not until you need them and something happens to you that you realise really how important they are," Andy said.

His desire to succeed is amazing"
Chris Deacon, Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust intensive care paramedic

Andy is already looking beyond his 50-kilometre hit out in the race from Tairua to Whitianga, aiming for 100ks next October and 200 the year after.

"It's 80 per cent mental, 20 per cent physical. So as long as you have that mental attitude you can achieve anything," he said.

Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust intensive care paramedic Chris Deacon says Andy's positive attitude is humbling.

"He's just got an absolute sparkle in his eye. His desire to succeed is amazing," Mr Deacon said.

Andy's wife Shelley said when he's on his bike he's just like he used to be, "he just doesn't need anyone's help".

But Andy said: "I see myself as ordinary Andy. I'm not special."

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