Greg and Kelly Goldfinch were greeted with every parent's worst nightmare.
A yelp of pain, blood and their little boy asking: "Am I going to die?"
It was Auckland Anniversary weekend this year and the Karaka, South Auckland, family had travelled to the family bach in Whangamatā.
The couple and other family members were eating dinner when their summer escape almost turned to tragedy.
Then 9-year-old son, William, was critically injured after being propelled head-first over the handlebars when he scootered off a metre-high deck.
"We heard this yelp and we looked at each other. We knew immediately something was wrong."
The couple found William sitting on the driveway, drowsy, with blood coming from his mouth and asking over and over if he was going to die.
Vomiting soon followed and by the time an ambulance arrived about 15 minutes later William was unconscious, having convulsions and struggling to breathe.
William was so unwell that even though the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter arrived quickly two paramedics worked for 45 minutes to stabilise him — including putting him in a coma — before he was flown to Starship Hospital, where he spent six days recovering from multiple skull fractures.
Despite the severity of the injury, William's prognosis is good.
He's back to his "normal, cheeky self" and a slightly droopy eye should correct in time.
In a year he can play contact sport again, but for now he's restricted to fitness training and waterboy duties for his beloved Karaka under-10 whites team.
The couple and William last week met pilot Russell Procter, intensive care paramedic Russell Clarke and crewman Ati Wynyard for the first time since the trio came to the family's aid.
It was an important part of their healing, Greg Goldfinch said.
The dad-of-two described the moment he saw the rescue helicopter coming in to land as akin to winning Lotto.
"As a parent when you see that chopper come over the hill, man, it's like you've won Lotto. It's a massive relief to see it arriving."
The family had always supported the rescue helicopter appeals, but helping the latest bid for new helicopters for the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter was especially important to them.
"Words just don't do it justice, how much gratitude you feel ... these guys are guardian angels."
HOW TO HELP
The Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust is fundraising as part of its New Chopper Annual Appeal.
The trust wants to buy two new, replacement rescue helicopters and $80,000 has already been raised through the Million Dollar Mission.
Another $2.9 million is needed and the aim of the latest appeal is to raise at least 10 per cent - or $290,000 - towards this.
Donations can be made by calling (09) 950 7204 or online at rescuehelicopter.org.nz