March 18, 2017 6:23 pm
Updated: March 18, 2017 9:38 pm

Calgary boy beats the odds after being hit by a truck

WATCH ABOVE: An amazing story of recovery and community support in Calgary Saturday. Nine year-old Ethan Neilson suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and broken bones when he was hit by a truck in the community of Cranston last March. He was in a coma for over a month. Saturday, his family hosted a celebration in the community to thank everyone involved. As Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports, Ethan has not only survived, he's exceeded medical predictions.

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A 9-year-old Calgary boy who was critically injured after being hit by a truck last year has made an incredible recovery.

On Saturday, the community of Cranston came together to support Ethan Nielson’s family.

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It was one year ago that Ethan was struck by a truck when he was walking home from piano lessons. He suffered severe brain injuries and broken bones.  His family was told to expect the worst.

“My husband leaned over to me and he said ‘do you really think he’s going to come out of this?’ And I had tears streaming down my face and I said yes because the alternative is to believe what I’m being told. It was too dark, I couldn’t go there,” Melanie Nielson, Ethan’s mom, said. “I ignored all the doom and gloom and focused on the here and now and I read him stories and I felt like he was responding to me and nobody else believes me but I thought he was responding, so I just kept pushing forward.”

READ MORE: Child airlifted to hospital after being hit by car in southeast Calgary

His parents organized a fundraiser for the Alberta Children’s Hospital as an opportunity to thank all the people involved in Ethan’s recovery. The Cranston Community Centre was packed with people who have supported the Nielson family in their long journey.

Everything from the food, the venue and all the entertainment was donated.

“This is the way that I feel I can give back and say thank you, because I will never be able to say thank you to everyone and they will never know the depth of that gratitude,” Nielson said.

The nursing care, the first responders, the community and the hospital – I hope they all know I can’t reach them all individually but by doing this we can know that they really had an impact and they gave me back my family,” she said.

Ethan went from a child who wasn’t expected to survive, to a 9-year-old who goes rock climbing and skating and is excelling at school.

“We’re not pre-accident. He is living life and he’s happy. He’s in school and he’s doing really well academically. His supports at school have continue to decrease in what he’s needed,” Nielson said.

Christina Koy helped organize the Cranston event. She met the Nielson family as part of her job as a Unit Clerk at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

“It didn’t look very good for him,” said Koy after the accident last March.

“I would see Melanie, his mom, laying beside him in the bed and hear about the progress that he was making. The day I saw him first walk down the hallway towards the desk,  I was like, wow this kid is amazing and it has to be that mother’s love. That family’s love. They were always by his side. So I do feel that it’s the human touch, as well as awesome medicine advancements and doctors and nurses that we have at the Children’s Hospital, but that mothers love for sure played a huge part in his recovery,” Koy said.

There is now a playground zone and a four-way stop at the spot where Ethan was hit at Cranford Drive and Cranston Gate S.E.

READ MORE: Neighbours rally to help family of Calgary boy who suffered brain injury in pedestrian crash

Melanie credits members of the Cranston community for helping raise awareness about safety in the area.

“When we were in the hospital fighting for Ethan’s life, they were pounding the pavement fighting for safety in our community. It is so touching that people would step in because they did it for us and it happened. There are crosswalks and there are stop signs (there now). The principal of the school has pounded the pavement helping to educate teachers and parents to make sure they know you need to go to the corner and you can’t park this close. It’s safety before convenience,” Nielson said.

You can find out more about Ethan’s recovery on his Facebook page.

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