On an otherwise unassuming Saturday, Christy Halloran dropped her husband AJ off to a much-anticipated bucks weekend.
They said goodbye and went their separate ways. Hours later, AJ would miscalculate the depths of the water he was diving into.
That bucks weekend on April 29 would change the course of AJ and Christy’s future, as they now must navigate what their lives will look like without AJ’s ability to walk.
Christy and AJ met in high school, married in 2012 and have a beautiful two-year-old boy named Flynn. Never in their “wildest dreams” did they think such a “terrible tragedy” could happen to them.
“I remember dropping him off at his mate’s house,” Christy tells Mamamia. “From what we can gather – because his memory has obviously been severely impeded – is that they were only on the boat for a couple of hours before the accident happened. The boat was beached in shallow water and he went to jump into the water and we’re thinking his foot got caught on the boat which meant he fell in head first.”
It was a “complete” and “tragic” accident, Christy says. AJ injured his C5 vertabrae, and was held afloat in the water by his friends for more than three hours while emergency services made their way to the men.
"They say he will never be able to walk again. They originally told us he would be a quadriplegic which is the same, but he now has a tiny but of movement in his arms at least," Christy says.
This movement, she hopes, will mean he will be able to hold his son again one day.
Despite "all of the uncertainty", Christy says AJ is doing "okay". After spending nearly two weeks in ICU, he was transferred on Friday to an to orthopedic ward in his Brisbane hospital. From there, they wait for a bed to become available in rehab, where he will be for an entire year.
Compounding the uncertainty of her husband's health is the financial strain his injuries will have on the family, and the expenses that come from such a drastic and tragic detour from the future they had planned together.
"We will have to sell our house, we live in a three level split house and we live on a hill - it's quite steep. It won't be suitable for him and we will have to re-locate. It's too much for us to think about right now," she says.
The family have subsequently set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to help with the overwhelming transition.
Despite the fear of change and total uncertainty, Christy says there are things the family are wholly grateful for.
For one, there was talk of AJ being transferred to Sydney, far from the couple's extended family and immediate support network. That fell through, and the family have been able to stay in the direct orbit of those who love and support them the most.
And then, of course, there's Flynn.
"He doesn't really understand at the moment, but the apartment we are staying in is about 200 metres from the hospital. They talk on the phone everyday and we can see the hospital from our window. After the lights go out we tell him to wave to his daddy and say goodnight."
If you would like to donate to Christy and AJ and ease some of their financial concerns, you can visit their fundraising page here.