A 5-year-old girl from Indiana is recovering after losing her foot when a family member accidentally ran over it while driving a lawn mower.
Italia McAllister and her younger brother were playing in her grandparents’ yard last Tuesday evening when they ran toward a lawn mower driven by a family member. When the relative put the machine into reverse, they didn’t notice the two children playing. Italia was knocked to the ground by the machine and her left foot was run over.
“I knew she was hurt — the sound I heard and seeing her laying on the ground, I knew something was wrong,” Italia’s father, Cody McAllister, 27, tells PEOPLE. “I ran to her screaming, and I still hadn’t seen anything yet. I picked her up and that’s when I noticed her foot.”
The machine’s blades ripped through Italia’s left foot, causing her to bleed profusely from the severely injured extremity.
“I was hysterical. I was screaming, yelling and crying that we had to do something,” Cody, from Elkhart, Indiana, remembers. “I ran her to the back door by the garage and my dad came running out with towels and everything else and we stopped the bleeding.”
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After calling 911 for help, the family decided to put Italia in a car and rush her to a nearby hospital. Once there, she was transported to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, but the damaged foot couldn’t be saved.
Her foot was amputated just above the young girl’s ankle, and Italia has remained in the hospital ever since.
“She has her ups and downs. Most days are better than some,” Cody says of his daughter’s progress. “We took her outside yesterday and she had a blast, but today she was down about everything and wanted to stay in her bed. But for the most part, she is staying happy.”
Italia has already begun physical therapy, and her mother, Robyn, recently posted a video of her navigating the hospital using her miniature walker.
Cody says Italia loves cheerleading and dancing, and has always had an adventurous side to her. Though she is now missing a foot and faces a long recovery process, Italia is still smiling and staying positive despite her circumstances. With the help of a prosthetic, the family says Italia will one day be able to run, jump and cheer once again.
Cody and Robyn are doing their best to stay strong during Italia’s stay in the hospital, which they expect will last another few weeks.
“It was really hard at first, but we have to stay positive, we’re staying in high spirits for her and for us, we just have to keep her motivated,” he says. “We’re handling it as best as we can. We’re taking it a second at a time — not a minute at a time, not a day — but a second at a time.”
According to a 2017 report from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, lawn mower-related …read more