Fresno girl loses foot in lawnmower accident

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A Fresno police officer who responded to a tragedy is working to bring holiday cheer to a local family. (KFSN)

A Fresno police officer who responded to a tragedy is working to bring holiday cheer to a local family. Their daughter had her foot accidentally cut off by a lawnmower.

Rosie was playing on a slide in her backyard a few weeks ago when the accident happened. One of the officers who responded to the scene is trying to help the family have a merry Christmas.

Officer Paige McQuay knew before he even arrived to this call it would be a difficult one.

"On my way here, one of my partners on call actually sent me a message and said, get ready this is going to be a tough one," said McQuay. "I sent him a message back and said, yea I know it's going to be."

No training or experience prepared him for the horrifying scene he pulled up to.

McQuay added, "When I arrived I got out of my car, there were adults and children running all over the place screaming, some of them were crying."

Lisa Bertelsen lives next door to Rosie and her family.

"I guess he had just started the lawnmower, there was only leaves in it at the time, when we found the incident," said Bertelsen. "Her foot must have gone right into the lawnmower."

Rosie's parents handed their screaming 18-month-old to her, since she is also a nurse. Lisa applied pressure and elevated her foot while talking to a 9-1-1 operator.

A blood soaked towel covered the girl's foot, and at the time, neither Bertelsen nor McQuay realized the just how bad the injury was.

Bertelsen said, "It was a complete freak accident. It was horrible."

McQuay explained, "I heard one of the adults yell that her foot was in the back yard and it was at that moment that I realized, her foot wasn't cut, it was cut off."

Rosie was rushed to Community Regional Medical Center, and then airlifted to San Francisco for specialized treatment. At the end of his shift, McQuay went home and told his wife and kids what he saw, and his desire to do something to help this family.

McQuay said, "And my daughter Rylee was really enthusiastic to help me because given the fact that it's Christmas time, and the father, Reyes, who is the only income of the household, we decided we needed to do something to help the family."

So Rylee decorated mason jars and McQuay typed out a report like synopsis of the tragedy. He put the jars at the substations, and with the help of the Fresno Police Chaplaincy program, generous hands gave.

Last weekend, McQuay drove to San Francisco and delivered the donations he collected, at that time, $1,600. It brought the Mendez family to tears.

Doctors were unable to successfully reattach Rosie's foot, so most of it, except her pinky was amputated. Despite this, everyone is grateful.

"She is doing well," said Bertelsen. "She did have to have a blood transfusion so we're very lucky she was still alive. I've told the parents that we have a lot to celebrate for Christmas this year."

Lowe's pitched in with a Christmas tree to brighten the family's spirits when they get home from the hospital. And an account has been set up to help the family with medical costs and the other expenses from this tragedy.

Visit the link if you'd like to help out with donations: http://www.gofundme.com/j1rifo


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