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'Big Bird' on the mend after accident
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Ricky “Big Bird” Holcomb and his wife Paige are shown before the start of one of Holcomb’s annual holiday toy runs. Holcomb, who has long helped raise funds for those in need, now is the focus of donations and prayers after an accident in July left him hospitalized with serious injuries. (Bulletin file photo)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

By HOLLY KOZELSKY - Bulletin Staff Writer

Ricky “Big Bird” Holcomb has a reputation for helping people in need.

Now, after a motorcycle accident July 20, he’s on the receiving end of prayers and donations.

His friend Guy Clifton set up an account for him at SunTrust Bank. Contributions may be made in the name of Richard Holcomb or Big Bird.

The accident happened near Stuart, his wife, Paige Holcomb, said. She was riding behind him on the bike, and a sidecar was attached. A wheel of the sidecar went off the edge of the road, causing the bike to crash.

“It happened so quickly, but I still remember every bit of it,” she said. “It was scary.”

“Thank goodness Paige was not in that sidecar,” Clifton said. “It would have killed her.”

Paige Holcomb said she just “got some scratches, but he (her husband) got the worse end of the deal. ... Just about every rib was fractured, cracked or splintered.” His lungs were punctured.

“We didn’t know if he was going to pull through,” she added.

“He’s been pretty out of it up until Monday,” his wife said. He was on pain medication and in the Intensive Care Unit at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

“He’s conscious, but he can’t speak with all those tubes,” Clifton said earlier in the week. “He has a chalk board but can’t write it out. He’s as weak as a kitten.”

“Fluid dried up inside his lungs,” Paige said, adding that he was operated on Aug. 7 to have his lungs cleared.

Later in the week, he was moved out of the ICU. “They’re just making sure his lungs don’t fill back up” before sending him home, Holcomb said.

She said she is grateful for the good care he has received. “The nurses on the night floor of the ICU are some of the best nurses I’ve ever seen. They’re very caring.”

She has been staying with him in Roanoke, in his room when possible, and other times at a motel.

“It’s tiring, but you kind of just go on adrenaline and Diet Coke,” she said. “He would do it if I was there. That’s what you do when you are married and care for somebody.” The couple have been married nine years.

She said he is getting through it the best he can. “He has good days and bad days. He’s decided he’s going to do everything he can to get better and get out of here.”

Holcomb is no newcomer to motorcycles. He owns the motorcycle-related business Big Bird’s Big Twins & Leather in Ridgeway. His charity work includes benefit runs for local organizations.

He has sponsored the annual Toy Run, in which motorcyclists and others drive a route in December, for 20 years. Registration fees are a toy or a donation to benefit Christmas Cheer to buy Christmas presents and for area families in need.

He was in a motorcycle accident 15 years ago, Paige said. “He was hurt, but it was nothing life-threatening like this,” she added.


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