Support is being rallied behind a Hawke's Bay family, who this week received the news every parent dreads.

Mason Ainsworth has been living in Australia with his father, and was due to fly back to New Zealand to spend Christmas with his mother, and two siblings in Hawke's Bay.

But earlier this week, his mother Lee Ainsworth "was woken up in the early hours of the morning and received the news no mother ever wants to receive", family friend Michelle Flavel said.

Mason was found at the bottom of a swimming pool with a broken neck, and damaged spinal cord.

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The details of the accident were unknown, but the 21-year-old's friends had pulled him out of the pool and performed CPR on him, which "probably saved his life", Flavel said.

Mason with his mother Lee Ainsworth before the accident. Photo/Supplied
Mason with his mother Lee Ainsworth before the accident. Photo/Supplied

Now in the critical care unit at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital, it is not known what Mason's prognosis is, or whether there has been any damage to his brain.

"It's hour by hour at the moment," Flavel said. Hospital staff had tried to take him off sedation yesterday, but weren't able to as he had a collapsed lung.

To help his family fly to Australia and spend Christmas with Mason, Flavel started a Give-A-Little page.

She wanted to ensure Mason's mother was able to stay at her son's side for as long as she wanted, without money being an issue.

"We can't do anything, we can't make him better, we can't be there to give her a hug and support her, but what we can do is support her by offering some financial support.

"She's a single mum and she's doing the best she can by her kids."

This afternoon, more than $9000 had already been raised to help Mason's family.

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Lee Ainsworth and her daughter have already left Hawke's Bay to be with Mason, with his brother due to fly over soon.

Flavel initially put the fundraising goal at $5000 because she wasn't sure how much would be needed in the first stage.

"The emphasis is two-fold, one is for Lee to be there with him and take away that worry about not having money to stay for another week, to bringing Mason home so that Lee can look after him and go through all that rehabilitation.

"It's going to be a massive road, and at the moment we don't know what we're dealing with.

"We don't know what his prognosis is, we don't know what his body's going to do, what his brain is capable of. It's a bit of a waiting game."

The Ainsworths had been "overwhelmed by the groundswell of support", with donations rom friends and family, but also from strangers as far away as Germany.

"Anyone at this time of year, it's just devastating to hear news like that. It's really struck a chord with people because it's the last thing you would ever want to hear as a parent.

"You couldn't ask for a nicer family, and Lee is just the most supportive friend to all her friends. I think the support that she's receiving is testament to the amazing person she is."

The funds will go towards airfares, accommodation and costs for Mason's family to stay with him while he is in hospital. It will also go toward Mason's recuperation and the costs associated with his recovery and rehabilitation.

- To donate go to givealittle.co.nz