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

Prince George man arrested for manslaughter of 2016 victim

Jeremy John Lowley has been arrested in connection to the death of Patrick Mathewsie

It’s official – City of Quesnel gives Notice of Election

Everything you need to know about how and where to vote in municipal election

Emergency crews responding to MVI north of Williams Lake

RCMP have confirmed police are on scene.

Reservations open Oct. 1 for Bowron Lake chain, Berg Lake trail

Back-country travellers can get planning early for 2019 season

Quesnel council endorses UBCM resolution on cannabis tax revenue sharing

$50 million would be provided to local B.C. governments on a per capita basis

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Canada aiming for the moon, and beyond, with new space technology efforts

With an eye on future lunar exploration, Canada’s space agency is calling on companies to present their ideas for everything from moon-rover power systems to innovative mineral prospecting techniques.

New Brunswick Premier meets with lieutenant-governor as Tories, Liberals vie for power

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said the only other leader he had spoken with since results came in was Green Leader David Coon.

Trudeau looks to restart Canada’s UN charm offensive in New York City

Freeland says the question of job retraining in the 21st century — and the uncertainty that surrounds it — is the federal government’s central preoccupation.

Calgary mayor seeks person who leaked details of closed-door Olympic meeting

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he will ask the city’s integrity commissioner to investigate a leak of details from an in-camera council meeting.

B.C. MP Cannings spared brunt of Ottawa tornadoes

MP Richard Cannings was spared the impact of the tornadoes that hit the Ottawa region

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

B.C. pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Most Read