Palm Harbor, Florida -- Family and friends, some with legs and some without, celebrated the long road to recovery for one little girl.
On next Thursday, April 10, 3-year-old Ireland Nugent will be coming up on the one-year "survivaversary" of her horrible lawn mower accident. Her father, Jerry Nugent, did not see her when he backed over her legs on accident.
Almost a year later, Ireland has had ten surgeries. Her family and six siblings, with two more on the way, have been there every step of the way.
"This time last year we were in such a bad place," said Jerry Nugent. "The memories from that day haunt us all."
But a good memory from that day was when the founder of 50 Legs, Steve Chamberland, showed up to make Jerry a promise.
"The day it happened I was with Jerry and we sat there," said Chamberland. "I and I told him, 'Hey, bro, listen. This is the worst thing that's ever going to happen to her. Don't worry about the prosthetic side of it. We will take care of that forever.'"
A year later, Ireland has new legs that she can run in and even dance in! Jerry and Nicole have organized a golf tournament at Lansbrook Golf Clubhouse in Palm Harbor to give back to 50 Legs and Steve.
"It's our turn to pay it forward, and hopefully we can help fund a leg for a family who does not have the money to get a leg."
One week ago, they only had about 20 golfers signed up, but as of Saturday morning 72 golfers were ready to tee off! Each one paid $80 to play and then gave donations on top of that.
The Nugents have also been trying to make changes in state law. They tried to get a senate bill passed that would prohibit removal or disabling of the device on lawnmowers that is primarily for safety. Congressman Carl Zimmerman, who wrote SB1448, said the bill was introduced but died in committee. He told 10 News if he is re-elected he will try to ascertain why it died, then he would likely make the appropriate adjustments and refile.
"It's a step in the right direction to get people thinking about these safety devices," said Nugent. "I am hoping we are able to get something through. But I am not stopping. I will keep emailing. I will keep contacting. If I have to go to Tallahassee eventually I plan on going up there. This is something that's changed me so that I am motivated to get things changed. I can't sit ideally by and let families suffer the things that other families and we have suffered."