There's a good chance 3-year-old Avery Sinclair wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for a group of firefighters.

The preschooler was badly hurt, sustaining a spinal cord injury, in a crash in Sanson earlier this year.

Local firefighters from the Bulls Volunteer Fire Brigade had to free her from the wreck.

"It's really them who kept Avery alive until the ambulance arrived," her mother Rochelle Fortune said.

Advertisement
Avery Sinclair, 3, beaming from the front seat of a fire truck. Photo / Fire and Emergency New Zealand / Bulls Volunteer Fire Brigade
Avery Sinclair, 3, beaming from the front seat of a fire truck. Photo / Fire and Emergency New Zealand / Bulls Volunteer Fire Brigade

"That's the reality of it. Without them Avery wouldn't be here today."

More than four months on from the crash which has left the toddler without feeling below her knees, Avery has finally returned home and reunited with her heroes.

For Fortune, it was an important visit to make.

The 25-year-old said she felt like sometimes the work firefighters do went unnoticed, as some people probably thought they just fight fires.

"They deserve more credit for what they do."

At a reunion with local firefighters on Sunday, Avery, twin brother Lachlan and older sister Maddison were delighted to play inside the fire engines.

And there were jokes too amongst the siblings about who might get dosed with the fire hose.

Sharon Bligh, one of the volunteer firefighters who helped free Avery, said she was thrilled the brigade had got behind the reunion and believed it was "closure for all of us".

Advertisement

It was amazing to see how well she had done, and to know there was a possibility she might walk one day, she said.

"I was actually quite shocked on Sunday as to how much she has grown in such a short time because I remember holding her in my arms and thought she was not that big."

It was great to see and hug Fortune as well, she said.

"The feeling was mutual between the two of us."

It was a heartwarming but also a surreal day for the young family who have spent most of the year apart.

After the crash Avery was airlifted to Starship children's hospital in Auckland before she was moved to the Wilson Centre, a rehabilitation centre in Takapuna which has played a big part in her ongoing recovery.

Advertisement
Avery holding mum's hand as they move from Starship to the Wilson Centre. Photo / Supplied
Avery holding mum's hand as they move from Starship to the Wilson Centre. Photo / Supplied

While Fortune stayed at her daughter's side in Auckland, dad Jonathon stayed at home full time for the other kids.

Avery made good progress at the centre, with her mum saying her time there had brought the ordinarily shy girl out of her shell.

"She's been really smiley through it which is great, that's helped me through it too," she said.

The family is determined to do everything they can to try help her walk again.

"At rehab we were getting her up on parallel poles and taking steps on that with a walking frame," Fortune said.

There was more work to be done strengthening muscles in her legs, she said.

Advertisement
Avery's family are currently fundraising to get her a special trike. Photo / Supplied
Avery's family are currently fundraising to get her a special trike. Photo / Supplied

"We are just happy that she is alive and that's she still here. Anything else is a bonus."

The mum-of-three is now focused on getting her daughter a special trike so Avery can join in on family bike rides.

The type of trike Avery requires costs $7500 - so the family have opened a fundraising page for those who want to help.

On the Givealittle page she explains how the trike will help encourage activity in her hamstrings and help build muscle in her quads.

This is what your donations are going towards. This trike will not only be fun for Avery to ride, but it will help her progress in her recovery with leg muscles being encouraged to get stronger and will trigger more hamstring activity with a hope that these combined will be a step in the right direction for Avery to walk again. This is one we trialed today, to see what changes will need to be make to meet all Averys needs. 7.5k is what this will cost. Your support is appreciated massively https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/please-help-avery-get-a-trike

Posted by Avery's Recovery on Tuesday, 30 June 2020