As Kendra Smith lay in the middle of a motorway, with a critical leg injury and pieces of broken motorcycle scattered around her, the Kapiti Coast mum screamed out to first responders on the crash scene. “I’m pregnant!” she cried, clutching her rounded belly.
Two metres away, her partner Corey Thompson was slowly dragging himself towards her using only his left arm, tucking his other badly broken one into his side. After their bike had collided with a truck, the dad-of-three already knew he’d lost a leg in the accident. “Kendra, my darling,” he said. “I’m sorry.”
It was on a sunny summer holiday afternoon on January 12 that the Harley Davidson crashed in Ohau, just south of Levin, almost ending their lives. Now, the couple are wheelchair-bound as Kendra faces months of recovery to walk again and Corey adapts to life with one leg.
But the pair are grieving more than the loss of their mobility. Although their precious unborn son miraculously survived the horror accident three months ago, he tragically passed away in Wellington Hospital a few days later, when Kendra underwent leg-saving surgery.
Together, the couple are getting through the hardest months of their lives with strength from one another, even sealing their love with an emotional hospital-bed engagement.
“When we were reunited two days after the accident, the nurses put our beds together so we could reach out and hold hands,” tells Kendra, 26, a mum to son Caasi, five, from a previous relationship. “One of the first things Corey said was, ‘I can’t get on one knee right now, but will you marry me?’
“In the past, marriage wasn’t something I ever wanted, unless a person could make a vow to really be there for me. But during the whole accident, Corey managed to prove his love beyond what I expected. I said yes straight away.”
As Kendra thinks back to the day of the crash – when they went to help Corey’s brother, who had run out of petrol – she compares it to a horrible nightmare. For her fiancé, a painter she met through friends, much of the lifechanging accident is a blur.
“I looked around and it was like I was in a dream,” tells Corey, 32, dad to daughters Laylah, seven, Harmony, five, and Dizzelle, four. “I tried to lift my leg up and it was just bone. I knew straight away it was gone and my arm was close, because the handlebar had hit my shoulder and snapped the bone down to my elbow. It was just hanging there.”
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