A little boy forced to wear a neck brace after suffering a severe fall got the emotional boost he needed when he was given a teddy bear with a matching brace.
Riley Hoy, 5, was doing a backflip on a trampoline in his family’s backyard in the United Kingdom when he landed on his neck.
Riley spent five weeks enjoying the outdoors — including swimming and camping — before a doctor realized the tot had actually suffered a broken neck.
“One of the doctors said how he didn't end up paralyzed or worse in the five weeks, was beyond him,” his mother, Gemma, 32, told SWNS. “Someone was looking out for him, that's for sure.”
But it was then that Riley was told he’d need to wear a metal brace that was bolted to his skull, otherwise known as a halo, for eight weeks.
“The halo was six bolts around the top... which have got pins which rest on the skull, going through the skin, and they are attached to a little waistcoat type thing,” Gemma said. “It's a thing you never think you will face.”
Riley wasn’t facing it alone, however.
When the family’s neighbor, 30-year-old Rachel Dark, learned of the recovery Riley was about to undertake, she surprised him with a teddy bear, dubbed "Jamie Bear," which is also outfitted with the halo neck brace.
“He took Jamie Bear to all his appointments, and when Riley had his pins tightened, Jamie Bear did too,” his mother said. “It was really helpful for him. When the doctors checked his pins, they would check his teddy too, and when Riley had it off, so did the bear.”
After seeing how much support Riley drew from the bear, a family friend decided to help other children who could use a friend.
“We saw what good it did for Riley — he dealt with it so well and was brilliant,” his mother said. “And it's brilliant that the hospital now has more bears for other children."
After wearing the metal brace for eight weeks, Riley was outfitted with a plastic brace he wore until December.
He is expected to completely from the injury by the summer.
The family got rid of the trampoline after the accident.
“He's back riding his bike and wrestling with his brother,” his mother said. “I must admit that it does make me cringe, but we've got to let him be a 5-year-old."