A 2-year-old Canada girl may never walk again after a freak accident left her partially paralyzed on her left side, her family says.
Jaclyn Derks was “playing, laughing and being joyous” in her family’s Calgary home last month when she fell onto a drinking glass that had been left on the floor, according to a GoFundMe page set up to cover the toddler’s medical expenses. Derks’ mother, Kayla Rudichuk, tells PEOPLE she was out shopping for groceries when her mother called with the terrible news.
“It was the worst call,” Rudichuk, 25, recalls. “[Derks] was just playing and she placed her hand in the wrong place at the wrong time and there was a glass sitting … on the floor and she landed on it and it went right into her neck. It’s just been an emotional roller coaster. It’s a nightmare.”
Derks was rushed to a local hospital where she had a shard of glass removed from her spine, the mom of two says.
However, the glass cut Derks’ spinal cord, leaving her partially paralyzed — unable to use her left arm and leg. Rudichuk rushed to the hospital where she saw her little girl covered in blood.
“I drove as fast as I could to the hospital and as soon as I saw her I broke down,” Rudichuk tells PEOPLE. “There was so much blood. My baby was in tears, bawling, she was so scared. I’d never seen such a helpless little girl in my whole life. She was bleeding profusely.”
Derks has been at Alberta Children’s Hospital for several weeks since the incident on July 22.
Now, the toddler undergoes intense physical therapy and has recently begun to mildly use her left leg and arm again. However, she has to use leg braces to even stand, Rudichuk says, and it is unclear whether Derks will ever be able to walk on her own again.
Rudichuk says she is glad to see her daughter’s improvement, but can’t help but recall the painful moments Derks endured during the initial surgery to remove the glass from her spine.
“That was the most anxiety-filled, crazy experience time of my life. In that moment I didn’t know whether or not my child was gonna be alive,” she says, noting that she let out a sigh of relief when Derks survived. “But the doctor sat us down and said, ‘I don’t know if this child is ever gonna be able to walk again. We’ve got the glass out, but she is paralyzed.’ ”
She adds: “Those are hard words to hear, because she’s 3 years old almost and still has so much growing to do. She has so much learning and development to go through. So it was hard to hear that.”
Still, despite the ordeal, Rudichuk says Derks is a “happy little girl.”
“She knows she’s sick and needs to get better. She’s in really high spirits which is awesome,” Rudichuk tells PEOPLE. “But this has honestly been so emotionally draining. I feel like I’m going insane. Some days I’m kind of okay, some days I’m a mess and some days I can’t get out of bed.”
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