Tristan blows recovery out of the water
THE injured teen whose family was told by doctors less than two years ago he had no future is spending his 15th year doing what he's done since his near-fatal accident - proving everyone wrong.
Tristan Sik, who suffered a severe brain injury from a push bike accident when he hit a car in Rainbow Beach in July 2017, continues to leap over recovery milestones.
Next week, he's taking his determination to the seas after several successful pool practices, to begin his first ocean surf lessons with Rainbow Beach Learn to Surf.
But even this is not his biggest milestone to-date.
The Year 10 Victory College student, who started back at school one day a week last year, now attends two full days and two half days a week with the help of a support worker and teacher aide.
"It's been really good for him mentally being back at school and doing what a normal 15-year-old does," his equally determined mother Carolyn Elder said.
"Cognitively he's doing a lot better - his speech is getting clearer, he's participating in lessons and making jokes with class mates."
A strict physical program requiring two to three hours of structured activity a day shapes the rest of the teen's rehabilitation, now aided by a pool at home - a crucial training tool that allows weightless recovery that helps form muscle memory.
It's the perfect grounds to support Tristan's unwavering dedication.
Tristan never gives up and never complains, Ms Elder said of her son who recently confided in her: "It is hard but I just wake up and do everything I do every day because I don't have a choice".
"He wants to be independent - he's very aware of his disabilities and wants to be the same as everyone," she said.
Currently able to walk inside the house with a specialised belt and two man support team, a major aim is to get Tristan walking independently, with eyes on access to a robotoic walking suit that Tristan tested recently.
She said three things have gotten him this far: Tristan's determination, his family's perseverance and a trial recovery drug amantodine.
But Ms Elder can only guess at what her son will achieve this year.
"That's why he's a force to be reckoned with," Ms Elder said.
"We aim for the skies and that's what we've done ever since we've left hospital."
Tristan will be sharing a table with famous Sunshine Coast chef Matt Golinski as an ambassador at the 40 years of Lifeflight celebration dinner.