On Saturday, September 24, Desiree Christianson was doing a pretty typical chore, mowing her yard. The single mother of two had told her four- and six-year-old boys to stay in the house because the mower was no toy.
That's when the unthinkable happened.
"I went to back up to get a straight shot and I heard something then I looked and he had come up behind me," Desiree Christianson said.
Four-year-old Cole had tried to sneak up behind his mom and was run over, suffering serious injuries. On his right foot, only the big toe was spared. On the left, the boy lost two toes and most of his heel.
As terrible as young Cole's injuries were, he still showed composure and tried to comfort his mom.
"At first he was like, 'I'm really sorry, Mommy. I should've listened.' I said that it was okay, it was an accident. And then he said, 'But I'm going to be okay because God's going to take care of me,'" Christianson said.
Cole has spent the four weeks since the accident at Rapid City Regional Hospital. There he as undergone numerous surgeries. His mom estimates that he will have had around a dozen by the time he's discharged.
"I wouldn't say it's reconstruction. I'd say it's just kind of saving what's there, making use of it. And then probably down the road he's going to need prosthetic shoes to fill in areas," Christianson said.
And although Cole faces a very long recovery, doctors are confident that with some physical therapy and special shoes he'll regain full use of his feet.
"The best, if you can say the best, part of it is he's young and adaptable," Christianson said.
Regardless, Christianson is thankful because she knows that her son's injuries could have been much worse. Now she hopes that her son's horrific experience can help teach other kids that lawn mowers are nothing to play around with.
A benefit dinner for Cole will be held on November 5 at the TREA Bingo Hall in Rapid City. It will include karaoke, a 50-50 drawing and silent auction.
There is also a fund set up at the Black Hills Federal Credit Union to help with medical expenses.
Contact Matt Wilhelm at 605-209-4207 for more information.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.