Words: Blair Thomson, The Daily Advertiser
Dash Gurung, 11, walked out of the Royal Children’s Hospital to a guard of honour, the cheers of staff, and the relief of his parents on Thursday.
He sustained life-threatening head injuries in an impaling accident near Culcairn in NSW’s Riverina on February 14, leading to a hospital stay lasting five months and one day.
The primary school student, from Thurgoona on the NSW-Victorian border, finally cuddled his brother, cat and dog at home on Thursday night.
“He’s overcome enormous obstacles,” his mother Joanna said on Friday.
“All of the nurses and doctors in the ward did a guard of honour, cheering him on as he was walking out by himself.”
“I was crying and my husband was crying but he had a massive smile on his face.”
“He’s overcome enormous obstacles.”
Returning home after nearly half a year in hospital was an overwhelming but moving moment.
His parents were in Melbourne during his hospital stay, each swapping between Ronald McDonald House and his bedside.
The family received so much support from the Border community, Dash’s hospital room resembled an art gallery plastered with pictures, posters and balloons.
A fundraiser generated $20,000 in donations from nearly 150 people.
The 11-year-old was able to start having video calls with his school friends about six weeks ago and plans to return to the classroom in the next few weeks as he eases back into schooling.
Rehabilitation will also continue in Albury and Melbourne including speech and music therapy.
Albury United president Justin Stevens organised the fundraiser for the family and was amazed by how many donations were received.
“Because they’re such a loving family and it was such a tragedy that happened, it was the least we could do for them,” he said.
“We knew the impact it would have on them financially, being away from work and the mental toll that would have.”
“We thought if they had that financial backing it could help ease a little bit of that pressure.”
“We ended up reaching $20,000 which was a lot more than we originally thought.”
“The money kept flowing in through the generosity of the public and their loved ones.”
Ms Gurung said it was amazing to see how many people had rallied around her family.
“We never imagined we’d be in this position,” she said.
“To have everyone’s support and to have something we can use for Dash’s future has been more we could ever ask for.”
“We’re just so grateful.”