Calgary family grateful to spend Christmas together after near-fatal accident
Published Friday, December 23, 2016 8:15PM EST
A Calgary family is feeling grateful for being able to celebrate Christmas together as one of their children made a miraculous recovery after a near-fatal accident.
Nine months ago, 8-year-old Ethan Nielson was struck by a truck while walking home with his sister from piano lessons. Airlifted to a hospital with serious brain injuries, he remained in a coma for more than two weeks. Doctors told Ethan’s family that if he survived, he may never wake up.
“They told us it didn’t look good,” Ethan’s father, Jordan Nielson, told CTV Calgary. “His chances of making it were not good.”
But six weeks after the accident, Ethan began making amazing progress. He started moving, communicating with smiles, and giving high fives from his hospital room. Now 9-years-old and in grade 4, Ethan is back home and back at school, gaining more speech and mobility every day.
“We didn't think he'd ever talk again, let alone walk, and here he is,” his mother Melanie Nielson said. “He's still doing well academically, he's back with his friends, he's doing wall climbing.”
Ethan’s neighbourhood is changing too. The intersection where the little boy was struck now boasts a crosswalk, a stop sign and a school zone sign. The Nielson family, however, thinks that more needs to be done to avoid such incidents in the future.
“Better now that we have marked crosswalks,” Melanie said. “But by no means fixed.”
The family wants to see such safety features installed before new schools open in the area, not months later. They’d also like to see larger “No Parking” zones around intersections to create better visibility for both drivers and pedestrians.
More than ten new schools have popped up in the area in the past few years. The municipal ward’s councillor says that although school boards share the responsibility, the city needs to take the lead when it comes to pedestrian safety.
“Changing the bylaw or taking the initiative and get it done, and worry about who pays the bill later, because we're talking safety,” ward 12 councillor Shane Keating told CTV Calgary.
Though everyday challenges remain, the Nielson family is cherishing each moment together this Christmas.
“Just this time of year you have a lot of time to reflect,” Melanie said. “We are so grateful for not only that we have him with us, but for how far he's come.”
With files from CTV Calgary