Bomaderry toddler Jake Price faces tough battle

Bomaderry's Sarah O'Meara with her son Jake Price, 3, who is recovering after suffering head and spinal injuries in a car accident in April. Photo: DALLAS KILPONEN

Bomaderry's Sarah O'Meara with her son Jake Price, 3, who is recovering after suffering head and spinal injuries in a car accident in April. Photo: DALLAS KILPONEN

SARAH O'Meara lived every mother’s worst nightmare when she got a phone call to say there had been a car accident and her young son was badly hurt.

The Bomaderry mother rushed to the accident site at Bolong Road, Coolangatta, just after midday on April 24 to be by Jake’s side.

A little over two months later she is still at his side every day in Sydney Children’s Hospital.

Jake, who turned three while in hospital, suffered head and spinal injuries in the accident and doctors cannot tell Ms O’Meara when - or if - he will walk again.

“He's got a long way to go – we’ve been told he’ll have to stay in hospital for another six months,” she said.

“He still has no movement in his legs and doctors can’t give me an answer about whether he will walk again.

“He’s been into theatre about six times since we’ve been here and there’ll be more surgery to come.

“To go from having a little boy who was completely fine to see him how he is today is just heartbreaking.”

Jake was taken to Wollongong Hospital by ambulance after the accident - a head-on collision that took the lives of an elderly couple in the other car.

The little boy was immediately transported to the Randwick hospital, where he spent six weeks in intensive care on a ventilator.

Since he was moved to a ward, Ms O’Meara said Jake had regained a little of his former “cheekiness” and even managed a smile for the camera on Monday.

“He was heavily sedated in intensive care but now his personality has started to come back,” she said.

“He had a tracheotomy to open his airways, but they've downsized the size of the tube now, so he's been able to speak a little as well.

“He's in a wheelchair a couple of hours a day to get physio, but other than that he's in bed and it’s hard to see him lying there and knowing that there’s not a lot you can do to help.”

Ms O’Meara - who also has a five-year-old girl Indiana - has had to stop work to be with Jake, but unfortunately the bills haven’t stopped.

“It has been hard on Jake, on me and my little girl and on my fiancee Travis and my stepson Harley,” she said. “Our family has had to be separated and it’s hard emotionally and financially.”

Family and friends have organised a fund-raiser to help pay for Jake’s ongoing medical expenses and for equipment he will need once he leaves hospital.

The fund-raiser is on August 29 at the Portofino function centre in Wollongong - tickets are available at the centre or by calling 0410 529 397. 

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