By ROBYN BRISTOW, PHOTOS: SUPPLIED.
Two broken legs in a matter of months has turned 12-year-old Jivarn Falwasser into a frequent flyer, strapped in a stretcher in the Canterbury Westpac Trust rescue helicopter.
Jivarn was grateful the helicopter flew him to Christchurch when he rode over a 15-metre cliff near Cheviot on his motorcycle late last year, breaking his neck and leg.
He has since raised two calves to sell. The cash raised will go into the trust’s coffers in appreciation of the service.
He is now doubly grateful, after breaking his leg again a few weeks ago when playing bullrush.
He thinks he may have to raise a third calf to sell to help keep the rescue service in the air.
His first two calves will soon go up on auction website Trade Me, with the support of the Air Rescue Trust.
In August last year, Jivarn was riding his motorbike, zig-zagging up a muddy valley on Robb Macbeth’s Leamington Valley property.
When he reached the brow, Jivarn thought it would be a bit of a jump on to the downward slope. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a 15-metre drop and he landed in a heap at the bottom. “I don’t remember much after that,” Jivarn says.
It was a scary time for his mum, Lydia Falwasser, who was putting out a bale of straw for heifers when she received a call from Robb, her boss, who had been riding his own bike with Jivarn, to say her son had been in the accident.
When she arrived at the scene, 7.8km from home, the ambulance had arrived, but was unable to get across a creek to get to Jivarn.
The helicopter had been called and Jivarn was soon safely in the rescue chopper, bound for Christchurch.
He complained of a sore neck and had what appeared to be a broken femur.
Jivarn spent 10 days in hospital, where a plate was inserted in his neck. Bone from his hip was also used. A plate was inserted in his leg.
In early March, Jivarn fixed his motorbike, which had a flat tyre, and was keen to go riding again.
But the following day he was back in the rescue chopper and on his way to Christchurch Hospital after breaking his leg again, this time at Cheviot Area School.
A wire has now replaced the plate and, after a week in hospital, he was up and about on crutches. He is likely to be in plaster until early May.
“I knew straight away it was broken,” Jivarn recalls.
A teacher, who is a trained St John volunteer, was able to stabilise Jivarn while they waited for help.
There was no ambulance crew on duty in Cheviot so an ambulance had to come from Culverden.
However, because that was going to take an hour, it was decided to call the helicopter.
Medical staff and the helicopter crew can’t believe how well Jivarn recovered from his first accident, and his progress following the second mishap.
“They can’t believe how well he is doing,” Lydia says. “You wouldn’t have known much pain he was in and he kept thanking the helicopter staff and saying he was sorry.”
Helicopter staff have visited Jivarn in hospital, shown him around the rescue headquarters at the airport, and on Tuesday visited him at home as preparations are made to auction off his calves.
Meanwhile, Lydia is grateful for all the help and support she has had, including from her boss.
“I am very, very lucky. There are not many farmers who would keep a person on after the time that I have taken off.”
She is also grateful to the Canterbury Westpac Rescue Helicopter service. “It is not until you need it that you realise how important it is. The whole farm is in the flight zone and I see it going past quite a bit,” Lydia says.
She extended her thanks to those who helped following the accidents, in particular the staff on the farm where she works, its manager Jordan Carnell, as well as Robb.
“They made it possible to concentrate on Jivarn and not worry about work. Some members of community were very nice as well.”