On February 11 Cherie Cowie was driving her six-year-old Layla daughter to school when she went into a diabetic coma at the wheel. As she slumped forward onto the accelerator, the car went off the road and slammed head-on into a brick wall. Their injuries were horrific.
Layla was flown to Sydney immediately. The young girl's arm had been torn from her body. She had massive internal injuries.
Cherie won't walk again and has only just gotten out of the intensive care unit. Her internal injuries will take years to heal.
While his brother Alex deals with the trauma suffered by his wife and daughter, Will Cowie, owner of the Hungry Brown Cow Cafe in Holt started to think of ways he could help his family.
"Alex has been so strong through the whole thing, we're all trying to support them as best we can," Will Cowie says.
"It's starting to sink in that their life - our lives - have been changed forever. They'll have to modify the house, buy a car that's wheelchair compatible, all that practical stuff on top of just trying to recover.
"I just thought, 'How can I help'? And that's how our fundraising day has come about."
On Saturday, April 10, from 11am until 8pm, the cafe will host a special Super Sleezy Burger Day. All proceeds will go towards the Cowie family's recovery efforts.
Will Cowie was well known for his trademark brownie cookies. They'd often sell out at different markets around town, but since he's started flipping burgers at the cafe in Holt as well, he's developed a new cult following.
While the "sleezy" is a menu regular - it's his version of a next-level cheeseburger - there'll be a one-off "secret sleezy" for the fundraiser.
"It's a great bun, a really good patty, and the sauces I make out the back. This sauce is a sweet pickled gherkin sauce with mustard and aioli. It's sweet and creamy. I reckon we've nailed it, it's damn delicious," Will says.
Will says the whole family has been moved by the community support they've already received.
"It's incredible to see how much the local community over here has gotten behind us already, even before the day," he says.
"They seem genuinely touched by what's happened, they're making donations, we're not asking for money but they won't take no for an answer, people we don't even know, who just might have been to the cafe occasionally. We're so thankful."
On the day there'll be live music and raffles to help raise funds. MIX 106.3 are broadcasting live, the Canberra Raiders and Brumbies have donated signed jerseys, the National Zoo and Aquarium have given some family passes to raffle.
"As well Capital Prints, Three Mills Bakery, Page Bottler and April77 Creative have all got on board, so many people to mention."
Will says it's quite humbling knowing so many people are still doing it tough after a hard year but still want to help.
He says it's a reminder that each day is precious.
"I remember the morning it happened. I was here at the cafe and my dad called and said Cherie had been in an accident and I thought it was just a little fender bender. But as information came in we knew it wasn't and by the time we got to the hospital, I can't tell you what it was like," Will says.
"But things are improving day by day for both Cherie and Layla and even if they're tiny improvements, that's all we ask for."
Go buy a burger to two. They are delicious and they're for a super cause.
- Super Sleezy Day, Saturday, April 10, from 11am till 8pm. The Hungry Brown Cow Burger and Brownie Bar, Shop 4, Holt Shops, Holt Place, Holt. Keep an eye on social media @thehungrybrowncow for updates and special offers.
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