Two-year-old Jaclyn Derks is recovering after a freak blanket fort accident severed her spinal cord. (Canadian Press photo)

‘Freak accident:’ Calgary girl falls through blanket fort, paralyzed by glass

The injury severed her spinal cord in half

Two-year-old Jaclyn Derks was sleeping over at her grandparents’ home and had built a typical childhood fort by draping a blanket from a couch to a bed.

Then she tumbled though the top.

The toddler landed on a glass cup on the floor by the bed. The cup shattered and a shard the size of a quarter lodged in the back of her neck.

The injury severed her spinal cord in half and left her paralyzed on her left side.

“It’s like one in a million … a freak accident,” said Jaclyn’s mother, Kayla Rudichuk, from Calgary. “I could fall on a glass and it probably wouldn’t break. It’s just so crazy how it happened.”

Rudichuk, a 25-year-old mother of two, had been out grocery shopping on the night of July 22 when family called to tell her about the accident. She rushed to the hospital and broke down into tears.

“My two-year-old daughter’s covered in blood, can’t move, has millions of doctors and nurses surrounding her. She’s strapped to a bed. They’re holding her neck. She’s terrified, has no idea what’s going on.”

Jaclyn underwent two blood transfusions before a scan revealed the glass piece was still lodged in her spine. That meant surgery was necessary.

“We literally thought we were going to lose her that night.”

After eight hours, doctors gave Rudichuk good news: they were able to remove the glass and Jaclyn was alive.

But there was also bad news: she was partially paralyzed. They weren’t able to give a prognosis but indicated the paralysis on her left side could be permanent.

Over the last four weeks, Rudichuk said Jaclyn has been resilient. The girl hasn’t complained. And she hasn’t cried, except to demand apple juice.

She has also surprised doctors with her progress.

“It went from she’s never going to walk again to, ‘Oh my God! Her toes are wiggling. Her leg is moving! Her arm is moving!’” said her mother.

Jaclyn has regular physiotherapy and occupational therapy sessions. She has been fitted for a leg brace, although she can’t yet stand on her own.

She is likely to remain at Alberta Children’s Hospital for a few more weeks, but could be home in time for her third birthday at the end of next month.

Rudichuk, who works at a car dealership and as an esthetician, plans to take a year off to care for Jaclyn. A GoFundMe campaign had raised $13,000 by Tuesday afternoon.

She said Jaclyn recently got a weekend pass from the hospital and had a sleepover at home. She played with her five-year-old sister and was thrilled to be bouncing again on her backyard trampoline, even if she had to be held.

At the end of the weekend, she knew she had to leave.

“She said, ‘I have to go back to the hospital because I have to get better,’” Rudichuk said.

“She’s so amazing. She’s such a little fighter.”

— By Chris Purdy in Edmonton

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

German-born British Columbian warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Highest earning staff at Fraser-Cascade School District made public

Also board looks into seat belts on school buses, Marv Cope gets road in his memory

Agassiz teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

AESS students say they had the experience of a life time

WATCH: Brother of missing Hope woman makes emotional appeal for more media attention

Next search for Shawnee Inyallie Nov. 18 along Highway 1 towards Boston Bar

Gas price drop expected to hit Fraser Valley today

Analyst says to take advantage, warns slight increase may follow

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants couldn’t find the net: coach

Even with a six-on-three advantage, the Langley-based hockey team couldn’t earn points Sunday.

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

UPDATE: Hells Angels on scene after body found in Maple Ridge

Body was discovered beneath the Golden Ears Bridge

Mountie left with ‘significant’ injuries after driver attempts to flee traffic stop

Richmond RCMP are looking for a dark coloured Mercedes Benz

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Most Read