Mom Says 'Life Can Change in an Instant' After Daughter, 3, Loses Foot in Lawn Mower Accident
"As devastated as I am by what happened to her, it was this weird mix of being very, very grateful that it wasn’t worse," Sarah Reardon said of her daughter Abigail.
A Massachusetts mother is speaking out about the dangers of lawn mowers after her 3-year-old daughter was involved in a serious accident that caused her to lose her left foot and part of her leg.
Sarah Reardon is still struggling to cope with the terrifying incident that happened on Aug. 22 while her daughter Abigail was at her father's home in Lakeville, news station WHDH reported.
"As devastated as I am by what happened to her, it was this weird mix of being very very grateful that it wasn't worse," Reardon told the outlet. "It easily could have been."
Reardon said Abigail was playing outside with her 6-year-old sister Alexa when she "ran behind the [ride-on lawn] mower as it was put in reverse," causing traumatic injuries to her leg.
The toddler was immediately rushed to Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, where she underwent five surgeries, according to a GoFundMe page set up by family friend Kate Gray on behalf of Reardon and her girls.
Despite doctor's efforts, they were unable to prevent Abigail from losing her left foot, as well as her left leg up to the middle of her calf, the page stated.
"More surgeries are very likely to come," Gray wrote. "Abby... endured plastic reconstructive surgery, has significant soft tissue injuries to recover from, and is fighting bacterial and fungal infections from her wounds."
Because Abigail is still growing, Gray also noted that she will "need many prosthetic leg fittings over the course of the next 15+ years" because "the prostheses wear out or need adjusting frequently."
As for Abigail's big sister, who witnessed the accident, Gray said she was also having a tough time processing everything and would be beginning counseling "to help her understand this traumatic situation that happened to her sister AND her."
"Right now, it is overwhelming to process everything coming at this little girl and her family," Gray wrote on the page, which has since raised over $67,000. "Abigail has a very long journey ahead of further orthopedic (bone) surgeries, potentially more plastic surgeries, LOTS of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and counseling."
"The goal is to get her resuming as close to normal a life as possible, as quickly as possible," she added. "This little girl is lighting the way through her new path in life, and she will be able to do anything she sets her mind to."
In the month following the accident, Abigail has been released from Hasbro Children's and is currently recovering at home while adjusting to her new normal, WHDH reported.
Reardon told the local outlet that while she and her daughters are still coping with the trauma of the accident, she's happy to see Abigail slowly recover, both physically and mentally.
"I am grieving and crushed, for what happened, but she is still my girl," Reardon explained to WHDH. "She is still the same silly, goofy, happy little 3-year-old and that personality just came back to life in the hospital."
The mom of two noted in a GoFundMe update last week that Abigail "is getting more & more confident moving herself around."
"GREAT for her independence and strength of mobility... BAD for potential harm to her leg that is still FAR from healed," she continued. "I still try to restrict her on some things but have let her test the waters. She is so proud when she achieves something new. Today’s victory was pulling herself up from a sitting position into her good leg."
Of her other daughter, Reardon explained on the GoFundMe that "Alexa is doing ok since witnessing the accident, and has done well with the start of virtual school, but is very sensitive to the sound of lawnmowers, and struggling with separation anxiety and fear of death."
"It’s a lot for a 6-year-old to carry in her little mind," she added. "I’ve been unable to line up counseling for her yet (thanks COVID) but still trying."
As Abigail prepares for another surgery next week, Reardon told WHDH that she hopes sharing their story will prevent other parents from experiencing similar situations due to lawn mowers.
"If you’re mowing, there’s no need for them [to] be outside playing especially around the lawn mower or tractor," Reardon urged. "And certainly don’t give rides on it, it is a dangerous machine."
In a Facebook post, the mother of two added: "I wish we were NOT in the spotlight for this, but if Abby's story helps spare even just one other family from a situation like this, then I'm glad we shared our message."
"Riding mowers are not toys... so many kids have no fear of them because they're seen as an adult size ride-on toy and many parents take their little kids for rides around the yard," she continued. "Life can change in an instant. I hate that Abigail is part of a horrible statistic for lawn mower accidents now. No kid deserves this - it's so preventable."
Those interested in helping Reardon with Abigail's medical expenses can so do here.