Ethan Hassett, 18, pictured with his assistance dog Pip.
Ethan Hassett, 18, pictured with his assistance dog Pip. GoFundMe - Give Ethan Freedom

Battling on: Still in hospital a year after quad bike crash

A YOUNG Mackay region man is still in hospital almost a year after a quad bike accident that left him a quadriplegic.

Ethan Hassett fell down a culvert and landed on his head while riding on a friend's property near Sarina, resulting in a catastrophic spinal cord injury.

"He was bored. Thought he'd go out riding on a quad bike. He often says it's the worst decision he ever made," Ethan's mother Sharon Hassett said.

"He fell and broke his neck. His bone exploded. He can't feel anything."

Ethan, 18, has struggled to comes to terms with the aftermath of the crash on December 3 last year, which left him without feeling in most of his body below his neck.

He's able to use a bicep to complete some tasks, but Ethan continues to undergo rehabilitation.

 

Mackay man Ethan Hassett, 18, has been in hospital since a quad bike accident on a friend's property near Sarina on December 3, 2016.
Mackay man Ethan Hassett, 18, has been in hospital since a quad bike accident on a friend's property near Sarina on December 3, 2016.

"His whole life now revolves around carers and having to do things for him, which he hasn't liked, but he is finally embracing it and realising it's part of his new life," Mrs Hassett said.

"Everybody (in the family) has been touched and traumatised. We're just in shock still and trying to get by and just realise that one minute you're normal and the next minute ...

"You read about it, but you don't think it'll happen to you."

Mrs Hassett said her son's situation is incredibly difficult to deal with, but she considers "all the things he can do".

So, when Ethan asked his mother and dad John Hassett about getting a new pet, Mrs Hassett had a light-bulb moment - why not get an assistance dog.

"We just know for Ethan, that's probably more important than a car at the moment," she said.

"We had to work out how do it (raise funds) ourselves," she said. "So... we decided we'd start a GoFundMe page."

The campaign raised about $22,000, and Ethan has since bonded with young assistance dog Pip, who's still in training.

However, more money is needed to cover Pip, and other quality of life modifications and additions to the Hassett's residence, ahead of Ethan's eventual homecoming.

Discussions continue between the Hassetts and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

 

Ethan Hassett's mum, Sharon Hassett, with Mackay businessman John Glanville at The Dispensary in Mackay.
Ethan Hassett's mum, Sharon Hassett, with Mackay businessman John Glanville at The Dispensary in Mackay. Luke Mortimer

In the meantime, well-known Mackay businessman John Glanville stepped in to offer a helping hand. He and about a dozen friends and businesspeople raised $7750 for Ethan and his family during a long lunch.

"I've got a lot of generous friends. Some of them are probably still scratching their heads, wondering 'where did that money go?'," he said.

Mrs Hassett was thrilled to receive the donation at The Dispensary in Mackay on Friday. Wrapping Mr Glanville up in a hug, she struggled to put into words what the sizeable donation meant to her family.

If you'd like to follow Ethan's journey, or donate, visit the 'In It With Ethan' Facebook page.


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