Boy fights for life after horror crash in first race
After years of practise, little Rowan Gillam fulfilled his dream last Saturday of racing in a motocross event in Brisbane's east.
But what began as one of the family's most memorable days became their worst, when the seven-year-old was thrown 15 metres through trees during a practice session at the Fort Lytton Motocross Club.
At 1.50pm on Saturday dad John Gillam posted a photo on Facebook of an excited Rowan with the caption: "someone is excited about heading into his first ever motocross race today @fortlytonmx since getting his MA licence".
Around three hours later their little boy would be lying in an induced coma at Queensland Children's Hospital with critical head injuries, including swelling on his brain.
Rowan's devastated parents John and Jill Gillam told The Courier-Mail they were praying for their son, with more than $16,000 raised already for his recovery.
"It was his first ever race day after nearly a year of build up and practice twice a week," Mrs Gillam said.
"He had no fear and was always very excited about riding and seeing all his moto mates at the track.
"It was a particularly hot day on Saturday and all spirits were high and Rowan was excited about that day in the lead up, even asking through the week, 'is it Saturday yet?'"
Rowan has been described by his parents as a "sparkly blue-eyed boy, amazing, funny, cheeky and handsome".
Mrs Gillam said the Corinda State School student was always "full of energy and a real boy's boy".
On the day of the crash, Rowan was neck-and-neck with two other riders when he missed the turn, launching him into nearby trees and the mangroves behind.
Mrs Gillam said Rowan was found unconscious and there was no ambulance on-site at the venue.
A parent, who is a leading doctor at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, and a first-aid officer from Fort Lytton Motocross Club were the first on scene.
"Rowan had all safety gear on, nothing was forgotten that day," Mrs Gillam said.
"The power of positivity is amazing. Rowan is only seven years old but lots are younger who ride and race motorbikes.
"I always wanted Rowan to pursue soccer or guitar and singing and never wanted him to ride in the first place.
"We are being strong for Rowan. Guy Sebastian and other famous MX riders from around the world have sent Rowan and us messages of support. It's very heartwarming."
Fort Lytton club manager Ken Herson said he hoped to see Rowan's "smiling face back here soon".
"He comes here most Tuesday nights for practice - it's just a freak accident," he said.
"We've sent texts (to the Gillams) expressing our concern and if they need anything to give us a call."
Rowan remained in a critical condition on Friday afternoon.
Originally published as Boy fights for life after horror crash in first race