ROCKLAND, Maine — A month and a half ago, 23-year-old Anna Wind of Rockland was preparing to begin a new chapter of her life when a disastrous bicycle accident changed everything.
On Sept. 20, Wind had been pedaling to work at Primo Restaurant along the city’s busy Old County Road when she saw through her rearview mirror that there was a car coming up behind her.
“It was really close. Wicked close,” she said last week. “I looked at the road ahead of me and saw a pothole to my right, and thought it would be nasty to hit that thing.”
She said she then felt the car’s side view mirror hit her on the shoulder, and that’s the last thing she remembered before she woke up on a stretcher, spitting gravel out of her mouth.
Wind broke a vertebrae, her nose and two other bones in her face. She had serious oral lacerations and road rash all over her face. She’s in a lot of pain, has been dependent on her friends and family in a way she hasn’t needed to before, and facing more than $30,000 in medical bills.
But she’s alive and grateful to the point of tears that a generous group of people — both friends and strangers — have been donating money to an online effort to help defray her costs while she remains out of work. As of Tuesday, the gofundme website had raised more than $5,000 in 10 days.
“It’s amazing, to see people contributing, either out of love or the kindness of their hearts. My gratitude is endless,” Wind said.
The accident occurred at a time when the Camden native and passionate foodie had been winding up her life in midcoast Maine to travel to Europe and bike from Barcelona to Lisbon. Along the way, Wind intended to work on a sustainable aquaculture farm in southern Spain and see if she could incorporate that work into her future.
“I was looking forward to having an adventure,” Wind, who has worked at Primo for five years, said.
But the accident instantly altered her plans. Suddenly, instead of preparing to bike through Europe, she was being treated for head trauma in the intensive care unit at Maine Medical Center in Portland.
Rockland police Chief Bruce Bouchard said that witnesses did not indicate that Wind was forced off the road by a vehicle, and the accident report said she drifted out of the lane. He did say that Old County Road has no shoulders where the accident took place.
Malia Dell, Wind’s friend and co-worker, said that she started the fundraising website because she wanted to do something to help. She also said that the bike accident has shaken many cyclists in Rockland, including her.
“I haven’t been on my bicycle since, to be honest,” Dell said. “I’m too scared.”
She said that Wind, who was a food runner at Primo, now must wear a back brace and can hardly breathe when she walks because it is so difficult and painful.
“She’s such a beautiful person. So thoughtful and so sweet,” Dell said. “And she has $30,000 of debt now, overnight. This girl is super careful about money. She was debt free. Almost done paying off student loans, really responsible, and boom.”
Wind said that the generosity and financial support she’s receiving is overwhelming.
“It makes me want to cry,” she said.
“This experience has been so scary and painful that people showing up for me has been incredible. The power of having a really strong community to support you at a time like this is invaluable.”
To help Anna Wind, visit www.gofundme.com/4z39fg.