Canada: ‘It’s unbelievable how the city came together to save Radi,’ says father of 4-year-old boy recovering after motorcycle hit-and-run - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada‘It’s unbelievable how the city came together to save Radi,’ says father of 4-year-old boy recovering after motorcycle hit-and-run

15:35  12 june  2019
15:35  12 june  2019 Source:   thestar.com

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‘It’s unbelievable how the city came together to save Radi,’ says father of 4-year-old boy recovering after motorcycle hit-and-run © Provided by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited Four-year-old Radiul Chowdhury, seen here in an undated family photo, is recovering in hospital after he was critically injured in a hit-and-run crash last month.

Ruhul Chowdhury says he wants to “thank the city that saved” his son.

On a Sunday afternoon last month, 4-year-old Radiul (Radi) Chowdhury was playing outside when he stepped onto Victoria Park Ave. and was hit by the driver of a motorcycle, the boy’s father said.

“He thought I was in the car next to our driveway when he was playing,” he said.

The doctors at Sick Kids hospital weren’t sure Radi would make it through the night, Ruhul Chowdhury said. The crash had left his son paralyzed and in a coma. At one point that night, police even reported the child had died.

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The doctors still don’t know the extent of any long-term damage to Radi’s brain, Chowdhury told the Star, but in the two weeks since he was hit, the child’s condition has improved to the point he is now trying to open his eyes and move his legs and his feet.

For that, Chowdhury credits an outpouring of support and prayer — his own and that of hundreds of strangers.

‘It’s unbelievable how the city came together to save Radi,’ says father of 4-year-old boy recovering after motorcycle hit-and-run © Provided by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited Radi Chowdhury in hospital at Sick Kids.

“Getting told that your child isn’t alive, it’s just the worst feeling in the world,” Chowdhury recalled. “After hearing that, all we did was pray — all I had then was my Allah.”

After arriving in Canada from Bangladesh in 2006, Chowdhury spent a month in Montreal before moving to Toronto for good. He’s lived here ever since but, he said, it didn’t truly feel like home until he felt the city come together for his son.

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Radi was hit during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and many across the city reached out to the family after hearing about the boy’s condition in prayer services, Chowdhury said.

“In every single mosque, in every part of the city, people messaged us and showed us how they were praying for Radi — people who don’t even know us,” and not just Muslims, he said.

Those first few days were the hardest for the family; Chowdhury’s wife, Sibratul, had to go to the hospital after feeling weak. Her family has come in from Texas to take care of her and their 7-year-old daughter, who goes back to school this week, he said.

Since the crash, more than 400 people have come to visit Radi and support the family, he said. Not everyone was allowed into the hospital — “but their support meant the world to us.”

“You don’t expect this kind of thing to happen to you, and you also don’t expect this kind of unbelievable love and support,” he added. “This city, these people — Toronto is unbelievable. It’s unbelievable how the city came together to save Radi.”

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Well-wishers have responded with money for the family, too. A GoFundMe fundraiser set up by a family friend has since collected more than $25,000.

And Chowdhury’s employer, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, has also stepped in. The company auctioned two pairs of Toronto Raptors’ playoff tickets for Radi, with the proceeds going directly to the family.

The winning bid for the first pair, for Game 1 of the NBA Finals, was $20,500.

Mohamad Fakih, the CEO of Paramount Fine Foods, also pledged to donate his $10,000 bid to the family, despite losing the auction.

Radi was hit the day after the Toronto Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks to secure their spot in the championship series.

“He was a big Raptors fan and he would’ve loved to watch the finals with his sister and me, even though he didn’t always understand what was going on,” said Chowdhury, who is a trainer and coach with MLSE.

“Their red colour was his favourite.”

Darren Dawson, the 31-year-old man who allegedly hit Radi with his Harley Davidson motorcycle, was charged with leaving an accident where bodily harm was caused, and driving without insurance or a proper licence.

His alleged passenger, Breanne Lynn Maclellan, 32, was charged with being a party to the offence of leaving the scene of an accident.

Dawson has not been charged with any offences related to the way he was driving.

With files from The Canadian Press

Temur Durrani is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @temurdur

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