“Every day Easton is showing just how resilient and tough he is,” Lauren Daae says about her seven-year-old son, Easton.
Easton Daae sustained serious injuries in an accident at a farm site west of Torquay in early July. He spent more than a week at the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon before returning home on July 15, with a large crowd of people waiting to greet him – a reflection of the support the family has been receiving since the accident.
Lauren Daae says the accident occurred at approximately 2:15 p.m. on July 6. A sprayer tire had been leaned up against a wall. The tire was the first thing that Easton’s father Daniel knew he would have to deal with, however he was delayed in arriving and in the meantime, Easton and his cousin, 10-year-old Layne Daae, were brought to the yard. Shortly after arriving at the farm, Lauren said the boys were playing together in the shop.
Layne recalls seeing Easton walking towards the tire. Layne had turned around and a moment later looked back and watched as the tire, which weighed more than 1,200 pounds, landed on and crushed Easton facedown on the concrete floor.
“The giant had tipped over, landing flat on its side with Easton’s body completely underneath,” Lauren said.
Layne immediately tried to lift it, and then ran to get help from his father Michael and uncle Darwin, who were in the shop.
Easton’s two uncles managed to lift the tire as Layne pulled him out from underneath. Neighbour Allan Terrett was also there to help out.
They called 911 and tried to keep Easton from moving, as he was still conscious and very distraught.
An ambulance arrived at the scene and transported Easton to the Weyburn General Hospital, where they were soon met by the STARS Air Ambulance. STARS landed at the Regina General Hospital, and he remained in emergency until 1 a.m., when he was airlifted to Saskatoon.
Lauren travelled with him for the entire trip and Daniel followed in a vehicle.
Easton sustained small fractures to his pelvis, and fractures to the left side of his face and upper jaw. He lost one front adult tooth and chipped the other.
“It is an absolute miracle that none of his vital organs were damaged; despite his left eye socket being fractured, he received a report of 20/20 vision,” said Lauren.
All of his vitals have remained consistent and everything is slowly returning to normal function.
“We are enjoying more of his personality coming through, each day,” Lauren said.
While there have been hard moments, the improvements and good reports have been “mind-blowing,” Lauren said.
“There is no doubt that he is a miracle,” Lauren said.
The biggest challenge right now is slowing him down enough to heal. Lauren said Easton zips around on his crutches and wants to get right back to summer. His trademark big appetite is back, he’s giving lots of big hugs and wearing the merchandise for the Colorado Avalanche – his favourite hockey team.
The family has two appointments booked so far for early August, which means they’ll be making multiple trips back to Saskatoon. He has had no operations or surgeries, but Lauren said that is still a possibility for his facial fractures.
The dental work needed will be addressed after they find out how his jaw and face are doing.
“All of his healing thus far has been miraculous and we have no reason to doubt that will continue,” said Lauren.
The family created a Facebook page named Our Anchored Avalanche – Easton’s Story, shortly after the accident. As of Sunday morning, it had 1,185 likes.
Lauren said the Facebook page was started because they couldn’t keep up with letting everyone know about his progress individually; they had no idea so many people would be touched by his story. The name Anchored Avalanche comes from Easton being such a big Avalanche hockey fan, mixed with the fact they were suddenly swept over by this tragedy.
“Just days before, he was singing … ‘in times like these you need an anchor.’ Our faith has brought us through this nightmare with a deeper trust in God’s plan for Easton’s life,” she said.
The Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital proved to be the best place for them. Lauren described it as an excellent facility with the best teams in the province.
All of the staff was amazing - very compassionate and thorough.
“We are grateful for a private room where both mom and dad can stay with him - with access to supports from family nearby. We can’t say enough how grateful we are,” she said.
As for the first responders, Lauren believes they were meant to be there that day. They were able to assess Easton and make sure he was stable.
“It meant a lot to us that he recognized them from the community and was comforted in that. The scene was so terrifying, but God’s presence was felt in those moments,” said Lauren. “One responder shared, ‘My life has been forever changed.’ The trauma and shock was heavy for everyone on scene. They’ve expressed their relief from the updates we shared in the days following.”
Lauren said the family has been overwhelmed by support. It will take a long time for them to catch up on messages, if they ever do.
“They all feel like he’s their boy. People are uniting in prayer and love, and seeing those prayers answered,” she said.
Lauren doesn’t know how many people came to greet Easton for the final kilometres of his journey home on July 15, but she guessed there was around 15 vehicles, and 50-60 people.
“It was a truly special time, though surreal. They were honking horns, waving signs and balloons. We were full of tears and smiles - you could see the relief on everyone’s face as they saw Easton riding in the front seat. We felt we were bringing their boy back to them, many neighbours we don’t know very well were reaching out to reassure him. Our community was one big family that day.”
A trust fund has been set up for Easton at the Radius Credit Union, so that people could help through e-transfers, cheques, cash or wired money.
The support for Easton has extended beyond the Estevan area. His favourite Avalanche player, hockey superstar Nathan MacKinnon, sent him a personal video to encourage him while he was still in hospital, telling him “I’m definitely praying for you, and you’re in my heart for sure.”