Oceana Cameron, 16, was told she would never walk again. She was hit by a car on Rotorua's Te Ngae Rd a month ago tomorrow in an incident police are still investigating. Since then Oceana has been recovering in hospital and a rehabilitation centre in Auckland. Zizi Sparks spoke to her sister about how Oceana's long recovery is tracking.
Leah Newson wants the driver of the car that hit her sister to know the family doesn't have any hard feelings.
"At the end of the day she's still alive and that's all that matters to us."
Newson spoke exclusively to Rotorua Daily Post about her sister's recovery, as it approaches the one-month mark since the April 16 crash which resulted in the news Oceana Cameron, 16 wouldn't walk again.
Oceana, a Rotorua Lakes High student, was in Middlemore Hospital for three weeks and was moved to a rehabilitation centre in Auckland last week.
"She's progressing really well. Her mindset is in the right spot," Newson said.
"She's doing so well and going from strength to strength. The progress she's been making she's doing it a lot faster than they expected."
At the rehabilitation centre, Oceana has been learning to adapt to life in a wheelchair, something completely foreign. She's been seeing how it feels, how to move around in it, and get in and out of it.
"It gives her a sense of, yes I can do that myself, I don't need help. That sense of independence."
Soon she'll start working on her upper body strength but for now, her broken collarbone is still healing and she can't weight bear.
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She suffered a brain injury so is dealing with brain fatigue too but Newson said she was handling things well.
Newson said the family had been overwhelmed by the community's show of support.
"She's had quite a few visitors. Because she's 16 and her friends are 16, they are getting their parents to drive them to Auckland to visit," Newson said.
"The show of support has been really good ... she uses social media to keep in contact."
Just over $4000 has been donated to the family's Givealittle page , set up to help ease the financial pressure of accommodation, travel and daily living costs for family members by her side supporting her and her four dependent siblings.
Newson said Oceana read all the messages left on the Givealittle page, which is still open.
As well as half-sister Newson, Oceana has an older brother who doesn't live at home. But there are four other siblings aged between 5 and 13 who do.
"We are so, so grateful as a family to our community and those around us and people that have offered to help, be it food for dad at home with the little ones, offering to help with the kids, we are very fortunate and very, very grateful for that."
Newson said the family had asked the police to tell the driver of the vehicle they didn't have any bad feelings and asked to make sure he was okay too.
"He was thrust into this situation. She's okay and at the end of the day she's still alive and that's all that matters to us."
The family was expecting to have Oceana back at home in the first half of July, after about three months in rehabilitation.
A police spokeswoman confirmed inquiries into the crash were ongoing.