Through her career as a police officer, Ella Cutler has devoted her life to helping others in their hours of greatest need. But a freak accident while she was on what should have been the trip of a lifetime left her in the position of needing to be helped. And West Australians rose to the challenge. Det-Const. Cutler was on the final leg of a European getaway — a rite of passage for so many young Australians — when she tumbled 10m down Pile Gate Gate in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik in August. That one fateful moment left the 25-year-old fighting for her life in a hospital a world away from her friends and family. She was in a critical condition, with injuries to her head, spine, limbs and ribs. The nightmare intensified when her travel insurance claim was rejected, leaving her stranded. But an extraordinary effort from West Australians — from strangers who gave the few dollars they could spare to donations of $10,000 — raised more than $500,000, enough to cover her medical bills and the air ambulance to get her home. Astonishingly, that fundraising milestone was reached in just six days, with money from more than 6000 individual donors. It is testament to how greatly Const. Cutler’s story resonated with West Australians. The fundraising efforts were even personally supported by WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch, with Const. Cutler’s mother Nicole revealing the State’s top cop phoned the family after they had performed their mercy dash to be by the young officer’s bedside. “It was the first moment where Josh and I felt really held, cause we’d been feeling pretty hopeless,” Nicole said. “For him (the commissioner) to help us do that and get the community behind us, I can’t even find words for it. It was overwhelming.” It’s now been three months since Const. Cutler’s ordeal began. Back on home soil and on the mend, she is determined to repay the generosity of those friends and strangers to whom she owes so much. Const. Cutler is still reliant on crutches and is in a body brace. She is focused now on her recovery, including gruelling physiotherapy and rehabilitation, with the goal of getting back on her own two feet again — and back on the beat. Her bravery and tenacity is to be admired. “I don’t feel myself, but I am OK with where I am going. Hopefully I get better than what I am now,” Const. Cutler said. “I feel bad in general because of what’s happened, and obviously, I am really grateful for them (my family) and what they have done for me as well during this time,” she said. While the hardest part of her journey is now behind her, Const. Cutler still faces an arduous recovery to get back to full health and once again get back to helping the community. But this brave young woman has shown that with the support of her family, her police colleagues, and her State, there’s no challenge too great.