One year on, Tristan is still defying odds
ONE year ago Tristan Sik received a near-deadly blow when he was struck by a four-wheel-drive while riding his bike at Rainbow Beach.
The 13-year-old broke his leg, hip and collarbone and despite wearing a helmet received six fractures to the skull that led to a severe brain injury.
Doctors prepared Tristan's family for the worst, but the young, adventurous teen defied medical odds - waking up two weeks later.
The past 12 months has been a long hard road for Tristan's family of six.
Any other family may have been sombred by the anniversary of the event that turned their son's life upside down. But Tristan's family is not any other family.
"I want to make it a happy occasion to celebrate his survival and that he's alive because he very well shouldn't be," said Tristan's mother Carolyn Elder of the approaching date on Sunday week that she has been reflecting on with her son.
"He has a clear memory of the accident," she said.
"He remembers the colour of the car, flying through the air and the pain on the side of his body.
"The fact he can remember it is a good thing if you look at the meaning behind it and not the incident."
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Determination, positivity and unwavering support has dictated Tristan's recovery over the past 12 months.
After hitting some of the major milestones six months ago, it's his ability to remember and initiate conversation that is now growing exponentially.
"When you do - there's no grief, doesn't feel like he's lost.
"We've never said never," Ms Elder said.
"We've never stopped him from being able to try to do something.
"By giving him every opportunity and the sensory input so his brain can connect the dots, that has increased his recovery."
And part of that recovery is returning to his old larrikin self.
"That cheeky personality is back in droves, the best things is he has the cognitive function to express it.
"Most people would be upset by their teenager telling them off, but I'm sort of rejoicing."
Next term Tristan will return to school at Victory College in Gympie for one full day a week, with the hope of extending it to two full days in the future.
"No one can say what they can expect from him because he's already surpassed everything they thought he should be able to do," Ms Elder said.
"I have no doubt in my mind, however long it takes, we will have a full recovery.
"But he's the only one that can show us where he can get to."