NZ-born triathlete killed in crash
A Whanganui-born businesswoman's determination to compete in a second ironman event ended in tragedy south of Sydney last weekend when she collided with a car while on a training ride.
Casey Kinnaird suffered serious injuries and a stroke after the crash on Saturday morning.
Family members rushed to her bedside from New Zealand and were soon confronted with the agonising decision to switch off her life support.
As she lay in an induced coma, her loved ones were given 15 minutes to decide whether to let doctors operate on her swelling brain.
"We had 15 minutes to make a decision as to whether we would operate to save her life. If we saved her life, then she would be in a vegetative state for the rest of her life," younger sister Jevada Kinnaird said.
"If anyone knew Casey, everything happens for a reason and we know she would not have wanted to be in a vegetative state."
The 35-year-old, who died on Tuesday, was a fitness enthusiast who made her ironman debut in Taupo last March.
She was training for this year's event and had recently joined a surf livesaving club to improve her swimming.
Kinnaird was riding with a group of triathletes when she took a narrow corner in the suburb of Waterfall incorrectly and collided with an oncoming car.
Jevada Kinnaird said the family had spoken to the driver of the car and thanked him for staying with the cyclist until paramedics arrived.
"There was never any ill-feeling. It wasn't his fault at all. We've made peace with him," she said.
Kinnaird has been remembered as a driven entrepreneur who established her own finance company and was mentor to aspiring businesswomen through the League of Extraordinary Women, a motivational support group.
"She was very giving. She worked amazingly hard and every single day," her sister said.
Kinnaird, who married Matt McBrearty in 2004, moved to Sydney when she was 18 and eventually established financial services company Bespoke Advisory Services.
League of Extraordinary Women general manager Chiquita Searle said: "Casey's one of those people that you speak to and just her energy and spirit comes through the phone."
She said Kinnaird was "fuelled by a passion to help people" and was humbled after she travelled to Cambodia to help build shelters for the homeless late last year.
Kinnaird's parents, two sisters and their partners and children will take her body back to New Zealand, where she will be cremated.
They will then return to her home suburb of Cronulla to scatter her ashes in a memorial service on Waitangi Day.
"We want to be able to give back to Casey's friends and family in Sydney and to ensure everybody can join us and celebrate her life," Jevada Kinnaird said.
"We're just really appreciative of lots of people for their support and we know that Casey's touched a lot of people's lives and we just want to thank everyone."
Sydney Morning Herald