Amber Lowe knew her daughter, Olivia, was a caring kid but did not really know what she was capable of until last Tuesday morning.
Amber found herself on lying on a country road, badly hurt and struggling to stay awake, wondering if her children were alright.
The dual cab utility she had been driving only minutes earlier was nearby on its side, up against a tree.
And Olivia was busy becoming a family hero.
The seven-year-old got herself out of the front passenger seat where she was sitting and then somehow got her brothers, Mason, nearly 4, and Flynn, 2, out of the wreckage.
“She’s a very caring kid but I wouldn’t have expected that from her, let alone any seven-year-old,” Amber said.
Amber remains in Nambour General Hospital with three fractured vertebrae, a fractured skull and a fractured rib.
The children were unhurt.
LifeFlight critical care Doctor Matthew Mulkeen said Olivia had been great help on the scene.
“Just to have that composure and set of mind to tell us what happened… she’s a really brave girl and really mature for her age,” Dr Mulkeen said.
Amber and her partner, James Valli, have told Olivia “just how proud” they are and she is revelling in the high praise.
“She loves all the attention she’s getting from it. She went to school the other day and everyone was giving her high fives and they were all proud of her,” Amber said.
Although she is extremely sore, and the family is now without a car and without an income while James takes time off to stay at home with the kids, Amber considers herself lucky.
“It could have been so much worse,” she said.
Amber remembers little of the crash and the aftermath.
The family had left Nambour at 2am to drive to Toowoomba, where James was to catch a bus out to work for his next two week stint on an oil rig.
Amber was driving home with the kids along Gregors Creek Rd, Woolmar, near Kilcoy, when believes she might have fallen asleep at the wheel and clipped a road sign.
“I must have woken up and veered back on the road and before I could straighten out, the car flipped and I came up to a tree and just crashed,” she said.
James’ brothers have started a gofundme account to help the family get back on their feet as the utility, which they were still paying off in a private arrangement, was uninsured, and James will not be able to return to work until Amber is well enough to care for the kids.
The family’s predicament was compounded by the theft of money that James had left Amber for the weekly groceries and was in the glovebox of the wreckage.