By Holly Shan
Jackson’s family was enjoying a fun-filled day at a family birthday party in Matarangi when the accident struck in November 2022, just 20 days before Jackson’s fifth birthday. Jackson was double-bounced on a trampoline by his Dad, Mike. “He was having the time of his life on the trampoline with his Dad,” Kelly, Jackson’s Mum, recalled. But this time, unfortunately, the landing wasn’t smooth. Kelly immediately suspected something was wrong when she heard her usually brave son crying very loudly. “He is a pretty brave kid. I thought to myself, it’s not like him to cry;
I better go check that out,” Kelly said. “When I came out, both Dad and Jackson were very distressed. Jackson’s leg was visibly broken, and he was in excruciating pain.”
Though the family lives in Auckland, they have many close relatives who live on the Coromandel and spending time on the Coromandel Peninsula has always been their love. But at that moment, it was the furthest thing from their minds. The whole family was shocked and acted immediately. Jackson needed to get urgent care. Mike’s aunt and cousins were amazing; getting on the phone immediately, calling around to find the best solution. Mike and Kelly soon had a Facetime call with St John and the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter was called to airlift Jackson to the Starship Hospital in Auckland. First an ambulance arrived to transport him to where the helicopter would land. This was to avoid more injury to his broken limb. Within 20 minutes, the helicopter arrived, and Jackson was on his way to receive the medical attention he needed. “My parents always supported the Westpac Helicopter, buying their teddy bears and raffle tickets,” Kelly said.” We were all aware of the amazing work they do, but this time, we all experienced it for ourselves.” Kelly added, “through all of this, we are so fortunate to have such a supportive, loving family.”
Jackson was in so much pain and shock that he couldn’t fully comprehend what was going on. “There is a lovely paramedic named John, who kindly left his own birthday party to attend our distressed little boy until the helicopter arrived. This was truly a selfless act, and we will be forever grateful that he could help Jackson by administering pain relief and helping stabilize and brace the leg while we waited,” Kelly said. She remembered clearly how she felt when the pilot introduced himself and the whole team, and explained how long it would take, how to use the microphones, and what to expect. They were kind, courteous, and efficient. “It was a relief to know that we could travel safely with help at hand.” Once at the hospital, Jackson received the necessary medical treatment for his injuries. He had broken two major bones in his right leg, a distal fibula, and a tibia fracture. For a week, he was in immense pain and shock and needed tramadol to manage the pain. It was a stressful time for the family, but with the help of the Westpac Helicopter team and medical staff at Starship Hospital, Jackson was able to recover.
After his initial recovery, Jackson started primary school and was delighted to return to his active self. Although he has a slight hobble when tired, his specialist has assured the family that he would recover naturally within the next 18 months. He had his last appointment at the hospital in February and required no further follow-ups.
Jackson’s family is grateful for the Westpac crew and their timely assistance. The helicopter ride saved them from travelling on the windy roads for a long time with a small child who had a severe leg break. Kelly expressed her gratitude, saying, “Westpac Helicopter and crew were there when we really needed them. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to Pilot Paul, Dr Stephanie, Critical Care Paramedic Rusty and Air Crew Officer/ co-Pilot Vasya for taking such great care of our Jackson and getting us to the hospital in such a timely manner.” Jackson also wanted to express his gratitude, “Thank you for taking me in the helicopter; you’re my heroes.”