Chanaye’s story

In 2020, 6-year-old Chanaye and her family arrived home days before Santa would visit. They had endured four long months in hospital after a terrible car accident left Chanaye paralysed, her mother Ashlee severely injured and everyone traumatized.

Sadly, Chanaye’s dad, Jordan, and her older brother Jai were driving along a rural road in regional NSW when they were slowed down by emergency services due to a traffic incident. When passing the scene, Jai recognised the crumpled vehicle and said to his dad ‘that’s mum’s car’.

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As the air ambulances took off, Jordan was left distressed and confused. He scrambled to make his way to Sydney as quickly as he could to be with his wife and two daughters.

Chanaye’s mother Ashlee woke up in hospital with no memory of what had happened. She had broken her pelvis, knee, both arms and femur. He youngest daughter Chanaye was not with her. In fact, they spent four harrowing weeks apart, in different hospitals. As Ashlee lay immobile in her hospital bed, she learnt her 6-year-old daughter was in an induced coma and was told she would not walk again. She remembers screaming with heartbreak as she lay there helpless.

The extended family and country community rallied around and supported the family through a very dark and distressing time. Chanaye’s loving Aunty, Cassandra, quit her job and spent time in the hospital, supporting Jordan and staying by Chanaye’s bedside. Jordan remembers the day Chanaye finally opened her eyes and even through the confusion and terrible pain she locked eyes with her daddy and smiled.

One of Ashlee’s fears was that her daughter would lose her sparkle but when they were finally reunited in the same hospital, she was overjoyed to see that Chanaye was still as cheeky and funny as ever. Together again, Ashlee would spend every day next to her daughter’s bedside, then returning to her own bed heartbroken each evening.

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As the family started to come to terms with this enormous change in their lives, Ashlee and Jordan started to focus on rehabilitation for Chanaye. There were signs of small physical improvements while in hospital but with no physio or rehabilitation on offer their frustrations grew. Once discharged and at home again they took it upon themselves to join online support groups and found videos on rehabilitation after spinal cord injury.
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Determined to help their daughter, they started to do the rehabilitation work at home. Through the spinal cord injury community, they heard about Making Strides and made the long trip to Queensland to investigate this facility. Once at Making Strides they saw how specialised the rehabilitation programs were and how much knowledge was shared. It was life changing and Chanaye became best friends with her trainer Ben.
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After two weeks of intense rehabilitation, the family returned to their tiny country town and Chanaye eventually went back to school. The incredible community came together, modified the school and prepared the students to welcome Chanaye back with open arms.
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From unbearable pain can come incredible resilience and this is certainly the case for this family. Jai is Chanaye’s elder brother and at 11 years of age, this sensitive young man has become the backbone of his family. He knows how to care for and calm his sister and understands what his parents need from him without being asked. His caring and selfless nature has helped his little sister start to heal.

The family has recently moved to Queensland to be closer to Making Strides. It has been a seriously tough year for everyone involved. Jordan and Ashlee have shown a kind of strength and determination unique to a situation that has taken them to the edge in every way. They have endured terrible heartache and pain for all of their children but still remain optimistic for the future and they are grateful for all that they have.

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