GEORGETOWN, Ky. (WKYT) - Next month will mark an anniversary one Georgetown family would rather not celebrate. It's the day a father accidentally backed over his 4-year-old daughter with the lawn mower.
Russell and Samantha Eddington spoke to the media for the first time. They talked exclusively with WKYT's Amber Philpott about how they are putting the accident behind them and they discussed how they have reached out to help other families avoid a reality like theirs.
Like most 6-year-olds, Katie Eddington would rather choose play over school work. Her giggles, a sign life is good.
Nearly two years ago, Katie spent a month in the hospital. She had more than 16 surgeries.
"It happened really fast. I just turned around, and I heard her before I felt her," said Russell Eddington.
It's something Russell Eddington never thought would happen.
"When I started cutting grass everybody was inside that day," said Eddington.
Only Katie wasn't, she snuck outside while her father was mowing the grass.
Samantha Eddington remembers getting the hysterical phone call letting her know the unthinkable had happened.
"That's when they said, they had just left with her and that she had been run over by a lawn mower," said Samantha Eddington.
Katie was rushed to University of Kentucky Medical Center in serious condition, her right leg badly damaged. Samantha Eddington, a nurse by trade wasn't prepared for what she saw.
"She lost a lot of skin, a lot of tissue, lost some of her quad muscle and she lost most of her kneecap."
Doctors saved Katie's leg. While different, it's something Katie doesn't mind. When she went to kindergarten she wanted to show it off.
Katie's attitude helped pull her family together after a terrible accident threatened to tear it apart.
"Once I realized that we weren't going to be able to keep her down, then I realized we couldn't stay down," said Samantha.
In the last year Katie has maintained a pretty normal life, but there are some limits.
"I want to see her ride a bike, I want to see her run and I want to see her be done with surgeries," said Samantha.
The Academy of American Pediatrics says 17,000 children require emergency care every year because of lawn mowing accidents. As Katie healed, so did her parents. Russell still carries the weight of what happened, but now they are moving forward in hopes of helping others.
PSA sound:" I did not see my child."
Recently Russell and Katie joined twelve other families to take part in a national public service announcement warning of the dangers of mowing accidents.
"If we could help one family not have to go through all this, it would be well worth it for me," said Russell.
In meeting with the other Limbs Matter participants, the Eddington's realized they weren't alone. Each family had their own story to tell and message to convey to other parents.
"We're just really regular people so that's my biggest message is that not to think this can't happen to you," said Samantha.
Despite being so young, Katie has never let her injury stop her.
"Kate is amazing," said Russell.
Their family bond was nearly broken, but a little girl's spirit has given this family faith that life does go on, with every next step.
The next step for Katie is a big one, she and her parents have decided to have surgery to take her leg and fit it with a prosthetic so she has an even better quality of life. To see the full Limbs Matter PSA click on the link below.
There is also a Team Katie Bugg Go Fund Me page that is helping raise money for Katie's new prosthetic leg.