A father in Fresno, California, accidentally cut his 18-month-old daughter’s foot off with a lawnmower while trimming the grass.
Reyes Mendez was mowing his lawn as his daughter, Roseanne, climbed a swingset with her siblings. As the toddler was coming down the slide, the lawnmower came by and sliced off her foot. Mendez panicked, and ran across the street to a neighbor to ask for help.
“I came to their front yard,” neighbor Lisa Bertelsen said. “Mom handed me the baby with a blood soaked towel on her foot.”
After being flown to a San Francisco hospital, doctors attempted to reattach Roseanne’s foot but were unable to do so. She is currently recovering in the hospital’s Pediatric Unit while her family stays at a Ronald McDonald House next door.
Mendez has reportedly been unable to work since the accident, prompting both neighbors and local police officers to raise money for the family. Officer Paige McQuay, who responded to the scene when the accident occurred on Dec. 7, told KMPH that as a father himself he felt compelled to help.
“When I was on my way there, a fellow officer said, ‘Be ready for a tough one,'” McQuay said. “In 21 years obviously an officer sees things that are gonna have an impact on them.
“Immediately you start thinking about your children. It could happen to anybody, any family.”
McQuay, with the help of his daughter Rylee, began collecting money in mason jars placed at various police stations and hospitals throughout Fresno. Soon, they had raised over $600. The Fresno Police Chaplaincy also donated over $1,000.
“It gives me a feeling of togetherness, happy... glad to see everybody in the department come together to help someone they don't know,” McQuay said.
Officer McQuay delivered the money to the family directly and said that while they are unable to speak English, he could tell that they were grateful. “I could see them start shaking their heads and crying. Obviously they are sincerely grateful for the help they are being given, without asking. All it takes is somebody to find out the situation.”
Roseanne Mendez is reportedly facing a long recovery, though the family hopes to return to Fresno this weekend.
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched in support of the family.