Here, Jeff Burgess, 48, tells the story in his own words.
M￼owing the lawn on my ride-on, it started as an ordinary Saturday.
My wife Kylie, 36, had taken the girls, Matilda, 11, and Harmony, eight, shopping.
Our son Jett was helping his poppy Bruce, 58, plant citrus trees and chatting excitedly about his seventh birthday party the next day.
Suddenly, Jett appeared by my side and before I knew it, his right foot had slipped across the muddy ground – right beneath the blade.
‘Jett!’ I cried, cutting off the engine.
Lifting the mower off him, I winced as I saw that his foot was torn to shreds and blood was spurting out.
Having been a police officer for 22 years I didn’t panic. I ripped off my shirt and wrapped it tightly around his injured foot to stem the blood flow. Then Bruce sped us to hospital as I rang Kylie.
She was already at the hospital by the time we arrived. ‘Will he be all right?’ she sobbed. ‘I don’t know,’ I replied.
Jett was taken straight into surgery to have his mangled foot cleaned and assessed.
‘He has shattered his heel bone, sliced an Achilles tendon and lost a lot of skin tissue,’ the surgeon explained.
‘If he’d been wearing thongs or sneakers instead of work boots, he’d have lost his foot.’
He and Kylie were flown straight to Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital where Jett had more surgery before being whisked off to the Sydney Children’s Hospital.
Leaving the girls with their grandparents, I drove five hours to join them.
During an eight-hour operation, Jett had his Achilles tendon re-attached and his heel reconstructed, using skin grafts from his hip and thigh. He also had a blood transfusion, and was in intensive care for two days.
‘Hopefully Jett should regain the use of his foot,’ the surgeon said afterwards. ‘Thank God,’ Kylie wept.
Throughout it all, our brave boy carried on smiling. The hospital put us up in the Ronald McDonald house so we could spend every day with our boy. They even threw him a birthday party, to make up for the one he’d missed.
Three-and-a-half weeks later, we took Jett home. He’ll be in a wheelchair for months, will need more surgery, and won’t be able to attend school full-time for a while.
Kylie has had to stop working as a nurse to care for him around the clock.
Kind friends have organised a fundraiser to help us meet the extra expenses, for which we’re very thankful.
Surgeons estimate Jett’s foot will take two-and-a-half years to heal fully but hopefully,he’ll be walking in six to eight months.
I’m telling my story to warn others not to use mowers around children.
We’re so grateful to everyone who worked tirelessly to get us through this nightmare, and help save the foot of our little boy.
To help, go to www.gofundme.com/helphealjett
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