Rhonnie Braxton is recovering in hospital after a freak accident while walking her son's dog. Pictured is Rhonnie and her granddaughter Marlee.
Rhonnie Braxton is recovering in hospital after a freak accident while walking her son's dog. Pictured is Rhonnie and her granddaughter Marlee.

Grandma paralysed after ‘freak accident’ walking dog

A Coast grandmother is bound to a hospital bed after she was dragged into a fence post and broke her neck and back in a horrific accident.

NCC Early Learners worker Rhonnie Braxton was out in Ninderry on Thursday last week when the unthinkable happened.

"Mum was walking my brother's dog and there was another dog that had barked at him," daughter Kirbie Frearson said.

"He sort of went to protect mum a little bit and barked back like normal dogs do."

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These were the last moments Ms Braxton was able to walk.

"Unfortunately mum was pulled with him and she got pulled into a big, solid timber fence post," Ms Frearson said.

The 63-year-old was flown to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane where she learnt the full extent of her injuries.

"She's got 32 stitches in her head from about her eyebrow all the way across the top of her head," Ms Frearson said.

"We later on found out she had fractured her neck and she broke her back in the T2-T3 level, between her shoulderblades.

Rhonnie Braxton is recovering in hospital after a freak accident while walking her son's dog. Pictured is Rhonnie and her granddaughter Marlee.
Rhonnie Braxton is recovering in hospital after a freak accident while walking her son's dog. Pictured is Rhonnie and her granddaughter Marlee.

"At the moment she's paralysed from just under her armpits down."

What started as a routine walk with the dog turned into a nightmare in just seconds for Ms Braxton.

But her daughter said she hadn't let it break her spirit.

"It was a freak accident that just none of us expected," Ms Frearson said.

"She still works, she's always out doing something, so it definitely came as a bit of a shock.

"But she's definitely staying really positive and we're just taking every day as it comes.

"She's got a little bit of sensation coming back in her feet and her legs … she has been prepared that she could potentially be in a wheelchair, but she's pretty determined that that's not going to happen."

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Ms Frearson said her family later learnt Ms Braxton had low bone density which impacted the severity of the breaks.

"Years ago mum had been told … that she should potentially get checked, but none of us really thought anything of it," she said.

"There's not normally any symptoms, there's not normally any signs of there being an issue until it's too late."

WHAT IS LOW BONE DENSITY?

  • Low bone density is when your bone density is lower than normal, but not low enough to be considered osteoporosis
  • It may mean that you have a greater chance of getting osteoporosis if you lose bone in the future
  • People with low bone density are more likely to break a bone compared to others

Raising awareness of the condition was important to Ms Braxton to ensure no one else suffered from another freak accident.

"Mum was saying that if she had known or had heard something like this, then she probably would've been a bit more aware, so trying to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else is a big thing for her," she said.

"If we can try and raise awareness, then it's not for nothing."

Rhonnie Braxton’s spirits are high.
Rhonnie Braxton’s spirits are high.

Recovery will be a long road for the loved grandma but Ms Frearson said she wouldn't be doing it alone.

"At the moment she's on oxygen so once that goes then they'll assess her and she gets moved down to the spinal injury unit," she said.

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"Then from there it's really intense rehab, so she's probably going to be in there for about four months.

"Then it just depends, it's a waiting game to see how she recovers."

More than $4000 has been raised to help Ms Braxton cover her bills while she recovers in hospital, which Ms Frearson said was "amazing".

To donate to Rhonnie's recovery head here.


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