The Sanford Maine ATV Club organized a fundraising ride to help a young girl injured in a UTV accident. Credit: CBS 13

Hundreds of people from the Sanford area came together Sunday to raise money for a girl injured in an off-road accident.

In April, 8-year-old Mackenzie Austin fell off a UTV — an off-road vehicle with side-by-side seats — in her hometown of without a helmet, sustaining a broken neck, jaw, optic nerve damage, bleeding around the brain, and 17 fractures in the skull. Her father says it was an absolute nightmare.

“It’s a shock and something you don’t believe will ever happen to you,” said Charlie Austin, the girl’s father.

Austin said Mackenzie has mostly recovered, but the medical costs are astounding.

“That’s why so many people decided to ride today,” he said.

The Sanford Maine ATV Club organized the fundraising ride, which went from Sanford to the Iron Tails Saloon in Acton. The 15-mile ride took participants through woods, mud, and city streets.

“We kind of thought we’d had 30-50 wheelers maybe, but we registered over 250 people today to come on this ride,” said Jeff Van Joolen, President of the Sanford Maine ATV Club.

He said the fundraiser currently has more than $4,000 dollars, but they are looking for more donations.

Austin said the outpouring of love and support from the community is overwhelming and appreciated.

“You don’t necessarily know who’s watching out for you all the time until something like this happens… these people are nice people,” he said.

To help the Austin family, check out the ATV Club’s Facebook Page.

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