15 March 2023

'He's our miracle boy': community rallies behind Tarj to get him walking again

| Zoe Cartwright
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After a freak accident on a family hike last October, Stacy and Darren Baxter's only son, Tarj,

A freak accident on a family hike last October has left Stacy and Darren Baxter’s only son, Tarj, unable to walk or speak. Photo: Supplied.

A lazy Saturday afternoon at an iconic South Coast pub, Dicey Riley’s, may help give a young boy the chance to walk again.

The pub and its patrons raised $1600 in one afternoon for Calderwood’s Baxter family.

A freak accident on a family hike last October left Stacy and Darren Baxter’s only son, Tarj, unable to walk or speak.

After a day enjoying a secluded swimming spot in Budderoo National Park, Tarj lost his footing on the hike back, tumbling 10 metres down to a ledge then rolling off the edge and plunging a further 20 metres off a sheer cliff “straight onto a rock face”.

It was seven hours before Tarj was able to receive life-saving care in hospital. At the time doctors told the family to prepare for the worst.

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But Tarj beat every limitation set on him.

“The doctors told us he had a one or two per cent chance of survival,” Darren said.

“But he survived 25 days on life support without getting pneumonia.

“They didn’t think he would come off the ventilator, but he did.

“They didn’t think he would get the trachea out, but he did.

“He’s our miracle boy.”

Now the family is hoping for another miracle – and the Dicey Riley’s fundraiser has brought it one step closer.

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The $1600 raised will go towards a Rise & Go electric frame to assist with Tarj’s mobility.

Despite his parents’ firm belief that with the right care and support Tarj has the ability to regain many skills he has lost, NDIS funding will only pay for services that maintain his quality of life.

In this crucial period after the accident his mum and dad are determined to give Tarj all the support he needs to fight back.

“They say the first 24 months post a traumatic brain injury is the most crucial, so therapy is Tarj’s life and focus at the moment with six sessions a week,” his aunt, Emily Chapman, said.

“He is giving it his absolute all whilst on the road to recovery and we couldn’t be happier or prouder of how far our warrior has come.”

The family still has significant ongoing costs to help Tarj recover, however.

If you would like to help out, head to: Fundraiser by Jaimi Colquhoun: Help Tarj, our little fighter, on his recovery.

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