‘Nightmare life’ for a Sunshine Coast family after a toddler was involved in a freak accident while on holiday

‘Nightmare life’ for a Sunshine Coast family after a toddler was involved in a freak accident while on holiday

A Queensland family has been living a nightmare since their toddler was hit by a car in a “horrific accident” that almost took his life on the Sunshine Coast in January.

What started out as the beginning of a family vacation, quickly turned into devastation when 14-month-old Rafa Nessler was run over by a car in front of his family.

Rafa’s mother, Hayley Rogerson (39 years old), did not want to go into details, but said that the accident was a “complete nightmare.”

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“Some moments will stay with me forever, and others I’ve completely blocked out,” Rogerson told 7NEWS.com.au.

“It was a freak accident…it was a complete nightmare.”

Staff at a nearby medical center were able to help Rafa before paramedics arrived.

Rafa was airlifted to Queensland Children’s Hospital (QCH) with a fractured skull, where he was placed in an artificial coma for 72 hours to reduce swelling in his brain.

MRI scans confirmed his family’s worst fears.

Hayley Rogerson and her son Rafa Nessler at Queensland Children’s Hospital. credit: supplied

Rafa had damage to parts of the brain responsible for complex cognitive function, use of the right side of the body, and speech.

His injuries require full-time rehabilitation in Brisbane, where he will receive specialist care for at least a year.

“I am so grateful to my family and my husband’s beautiful family, they have been by our side from the accident itself until his recovery… There was always someone by my side to help me with Rafa,” Rogerson said.

Rogerson was staying in the QCH suite with Rafa. The family also has a room in the Ronald McDonald House.

“It’s unbelievable, we’re so lucky to have this,” Rogerson said.

Rogerson is staying in the Queensland Children’s Hospital ward with Rafa. The family also has a room in the Ronald McDonald House. credit: supplied

The family is now navigating the logistics of living as a “newly fractured family unit.” Rogerson lives in Brisbane with Rafa, while the boy’s father, Kurt Nessler, looks after the couple’s other two children, Knox, six, and Bowie, four, at the family home in Miniama on the Sunshine Coast.

“He (Rafa) has been in good care, and we are very lucky to live in Australia,” Rogerson said. “We are very grateful to everyone we have met.”

“Rafa would not be here without all these people and the care he received.

“Gratitude is such an understatement.”

“Our goals are today and tomorrow.”

Rogerson said her son is getting stronger every day, and she even surprised the staff with his progress.

“We were in rehab last week and every day he did something amazing,” she said.

“Everyone has been so excited about his progress, he is now able to sit up on his own, and is starting to crawl – it just proves how amazing he is.”

But Rogerson said they are not planning too much for the future, instead focusing on the present and Rafa’s achievements so far.

“Our goals are today and tomorrow.”

Rafa Nessler with his parents Hayley Rogerson and Kurt Nessler and his older brothers Knox, six, and Bowie, four. credit: supplied

A GoFundMe campaign set up by a family friend to help Rafa, “our little buddy, one of the sweetest boys we know,” on his road to recovery, has reached more than $100,000.

“They are truly the sweetest family and Rafa is the most precious little man,” GoFundMe organizer Kim McKenzie said.

“I’m not one to ask for help, and we’ve always been very independent – but to see how many people have been so generous has been absolutely amazing,” Rogerson added.

“We equate this generosity with love for Rafa.” We feel so much love from everywhere – friends, family, community – it is very touching.

    (tags for translation) News 

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