Locals raise funds to bring home popular Colo High student injured in devastating car crash
Updated: Aug 16
It’s often said the Hawkesbury has a big heart and always looks after its own, and that’s on show once again thanks to an online fund-raiser which has seen a local girl back home with her family after a terrible car accident.
Tiahni Paddison had her whole life in front of her, with ambitions to continue her love of dance, finish Year 12, pursue tertiary studies in the field of physiotherapy, and of course live a happy and independent life.
But that all came to a devastating halt back in May when the 17-year-old Grose Vale school student was involved in an horrific car accident at Castlereagh when her vehicle and a truck collided.
The Colo High and ex-Grose View PS student suffered severe brain injuries – it took 45 minutes to free her from the tangled vehicle wreckage – and she nearly lost her life.
But against all the odds, and with a good degree of sheer persistence, the popular student got through a three-week induced coma, underwent brain surgery, battled pneumonia twice, and at one stage had a cluster of blood clots in her left lung.
With the help of the staff at Westmead Hospital, and Tiahni’s immediate family, she started her rehabilitation, which has included physiotherapy to learn how to walk again, the skills required to eat independently, speech therapy, and occupational therapy for daily tasks.
After a long and exhausting journey for Tiahni and her family, they wanted to bring her home.
The goal of the GoFundMe fundraiser set up by family friend Sandra Eglin and Tiahni’s aunt Donna Eeles, was to bring the youngster home from hospital and continue with rehabilitation to give Tiahni the best chance of recovery.
But of course the costs were substantial, so Donna and Sandra set-up the fundraiser with the aim of getting to $50,000 which would help with much-needed renovations to the family home to allow wheelchair access in and out and around the home, an upgrade of the bathroom for wheelchair access, ongoing treatment costs which are not covered by iCare such as physio, hydrotherapy, speech, and occupational therapy, a tutor/educational support worker, and the option of intensive rehabilitation at Mt Wilga, plus the cost of transfers to appointments.
They wanted Tiahni’s family to be able to spend time supporting her without worrying about being locked out of hospital due to COVID or having to rush to return to work.
The response was amazing and is still ongoing as many chipped in amounts from several dollars right up to individual amounts in the thousands.
Such has been the outpouring of community support, the fund has reached just over $52,000 and that’s meant some really positive changes for Tiahni, not least that she has been able to be moved back home from hospital.
The organisers said they would like to say thank-you on behalf of the Paddison family and Tiahni’s extended family for all of the kind words and generous donations received.
Tiahni is now at home and the family are in the process of continuing upgrades at home to suit her needs. She is also attending physiotherapy several times per week with the aim to be able to one day walk by herself without the assistance of others.
If you’d like to support the fundraiser, go here for more information.