Miracle girl to make biggest recovery step since accident
THREE months cannot come quick enough for Abbie Sweeper - the young miracle girl who survived a freak horseriding accident.
But her determined recovery, and support from the equine industry means Abbie and her family can almost return to their Lockyer Valley home.
Yesterday, the Lockyer Valley Turf Club named a race after Abbie's foundation, Riding for Abbie, which raises funds to help the family adjust to a new lifestyle.
Her mum, Amanda Visser, thanked the turf club and supporters who donated.
"Jockeys put themselves at risk all the time to do their jobs," Ms Visser said.
"It's a really high-risk sport that we take for granted to get on and off the horses.
"It's just scary that this could happen to anyone that rides - with in an instant our whole lives changed."
The constant support for the young horse lover means Abbie has had access to technology to help her quality of life.
After falling from her horse at a gymkhana on July 14 last year, Abbie injured the top of her spinal cord, which means everything below the injury site is affected.
Ms Visser said it was a miracle her daughter survived.
"It's not a very common story, it's very rare of a child her age to have such an injury and survive," Ms Visser said.
"She still wishes to ride and be around the horses. It hasn't taken the love of horses away from her."
Abbie has learned to feed herself unassisted using a robotic feeding machine and using an iPad with voice control.
Through the community's support, the family has ordered a wheelchair with all-terrain tyres, so once home, Abbie can spend time in the paddock with her horse Missy Moo.
Abbie got a taste for home last month during a special day trip back to her horse paddock.
"She has a lot of perseverance and she doesn't give up very easy," Ms Visser said.
"Abbie can do it all with a bit of practice. She's a pretty determined little kid really."
Since the accident, Abbie and her family have lived at the hospital and in an apartment in Brisbane.
But she can't wait to return home.
"She's a country kid and loves her horses, and now we're in a unit in the middle of the city," Ms Visser said.
"That's the hard thing, she keeps saying she loves the country."
Ms Visser said the only way Abbie would regain use of her body was with a medical science breakthrough.
"She's young, so there is a possibility. They're doing a lot of research at Griffith University regarding nasal stem cells," she said.
"For now, we go day to day and make the best of every day."
Anyone wanting to support Abbie and her family can buy Riding for Abbie merchandise at www.ridingforabbie.com or donate to her trust account.
Trust account details
BSB: 064 413