Last year Keiren Weston was tragically knocked down by a truck in Uralla. And sadly, he lost his leg. This article tells the story of Keiren’s journey so far …
> The Accident
As many people in our beautiful town of Uralla are aware, Keiren Weston is the 10 year old child who was run over by a semi-trailer on the pedestrian crossing in Uralla on the 22 July 2008. Keiren was riding his bike to complete his afternoon tasks of getting the mail from the post office and stopping at the butcher’s to get things for his family’s dinner; these were two activities that Keiren loved to complete on a daily basis. He was accustomed to these tasks and had been taught road safety awareness by his parents, Peta and Michael.
However, one brief moment changed everything. It impacted not only the families’ lives, but also the people within the community. When the parents got the call and arrived on the scene, there seemed to be a mass of people, who included the Uralla Firies, Ambulance and Police but also bystanders, who took the parents in and sat with them while they waited to see Keiren.
Keiren was then taken to the hospital in Armidale, where an excellent team of local doctors prepared him for his journey to Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney.
Dr Nick Ryan from the Westpac Rescue team was given the task of escorting Keiren and his Dad Michael to the hospital via the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. Keiren stayed awake for most of the flight. Upon arrival at the Children’s Hospital, Keiren was taken into surgery, where he had his right leg amputated from above the knee.
> The Hospital
From the Tuesday night until Friday, Keiren was kept under sedation. This was the toughest time of the whole ordeal for Keiren’s family – it meant many hours sitting by the bedside keeping him company and watching him sleep.
Keiren was returned to the operating theatre over the course of these days to check on his wound and to ensure that no infection was evident.
After Keiren was brought out of sedation, he began the task of healing – not only emotionally, but physically. He was put on a special diet that included lots of high protein foods for healthy cell growth.
Keiren was seen by many doctors, nurses and therapists, who were all focused on getting him ready for his end result – the new prosthetic leg that he would receive many weeks down the track.
Keiren was in hospital full time for a total of 6 weeks. During this time he had many visitors … family, friends and celebrities. Batman and Wonder Woman from Movie World came to visit on his birthday, Big Kev from the Biggest Loser Show, and also some stars from the Footy Show.
This was the highlight for Keiren, as he was able to meet Mathew Johns and Paul Harrigan, who were very kind and gave Keiren a signed guernsey from his favourite football team, the Newcastle Knights. These visitors made Keiren’s time in the hospital a little easier to bear. After being in hospital, Keiren was able to move to Ronald McDonald house, which is located near the grounds of the hospital. He was able to attend school at the hospital, and one day he even attended school in his bed. This kept him occupied and inspired, to help him continue his rehabilitation.
> Behind the Scenes
While the family was at the hospital they received many good wishes from the community. Enormous amounts of support came from not only the local community, but from Armidale and from the local Members of Parliament and other business leaders.
While the parents acknow-ledged and appreciated the support, they were not fully aware of the extent of this until they arrived home and found that the local building trades and other businesses had combined to build a ramp and a deck around the family home. This meant a tremendous amount to the family, who would have found it difficult to provide this for Keiren otherwise.
Then the news was given to the family that the local community was preparing to hold a fundraising night for Keiren. The parents remember asking the question, “Why us?” They were surprised that the community would go to such efforts for a family many didn’t even know! They felt very blessed.
The fundraising night raised over $25,000 for the family, and on the night Peta spoke of never being able to thank people enough for what they had done.
“THANK YOU! For the support, the generous donations, the time, the effort and all the well wishes; it has all helped us as a family to move beyond the tragedy and into the future once again. WE THANK YOU. I believe that these words are not enough, but again WE THANK YOU.”
> The Future
What does the future hold for Keiren and his family? This is a good question. Keiren received his new leg on the 15th December 2008. He travelled to Sydney and stayed for one week while collecting his prosthesis and beginning the next stage of his recovery. He returned to school briefly over the last term of last year, so this year he will get back to school on a full time basis.
He will begin a more intensive program of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy, and his goals this year are to try to visit his favourite football team again in Newcastle and to get back on his bike by Christmas. This will mean a lot of hard work for Keiren, but he is determined to do it. If there is one thing his parents have learned from the whole experience, it’s that Keiren is a strong boy who sets his mind on getting to where he needs to be … and then does it.
To sum up this story in a few words, when times are tough and you do not know how you will get through, remember that there is a light at the end. It may only come to you through little steps, but it is the end result that makes the journey all the more worthwhile.