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5-Year-Old Boy Spends His Birthday in the Hospital After Surviving Crash That Killed His Mom

"He has taken all of this like a trooper," Matthew Keene's dad tells PEOPLE

<p>Matt Keene</p> Emily Keene and her son Matthew Keene.

Matt Keene

Emily Keene and her son Matthew Keene.
  • Matthew Keene survived a head-on car crash in North Carolina that killed his mom on Jan. 12

  • "We still have a long road ahead," the boy's father tells PEOPLE, noting that his son is currently recovering at home

  • Authorities said that an investigation into the fatal crash is ongoing

A 5-year-old boy spent his birthday in the hospital after surviving a North Carolina crash that killed his mother.

Matthew Keene and his mother, Emily Keene, were driving in Oakboro on Jan. 12 when a Toyota pickup truck hit their car head-on, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety told PEOPLE in a statement.

Keene was airlifted to Atrium Health Main, where she was pronounced dead, authorities said.

A GoFundMe fundraiser launched by a loved one said that the boy "broke his arm and had to have part of his colon and intestines removed" following the crash.

Related: 3-Year-Old Girl Dies in Multi-Vehicle Crash Just a 'Few Short Miles from Home' in New Jersey

Shortly after the crash, Matthew celebrated his birthday at Charlotte's Children’s Levine Hospital, according to ABC affiliates WTVD and WSOC-TV.

However, since then, the boy has been able to come home, his dad tells PEOPLE.

Related: Boy, 10, Survives After Being Impaled Through the Head by Foot-Long Meat Skewer

The boy's father, Matt Keene, says that his "strong" son is currently recovering at home and "doing great," though he will likely need more medical attention.

"We still have a long road ahead with therapy and more appointments and another potential back surgery" he says.

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He shares that Emily was a "good mother" to their son, who "has taken all of this like a trooper."

Related: 4-Year-Old Boy Survives Car Crash That Killed His Parents and 2 Siblings During Thanksgiving Trip

"This will be a very rough transition for Matthew but also for Matt," read a tribute by the GoFundMe organizer, who noted the dad would have to be "out of work for the next little while."

"Keep Matthew’s mother’s family in your thoughts and prayers as they navigate these uncertain waters as well," the organizer added."

As of Monday morning, $6,000 has been raised.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety said that an investigation into the fatal crash is ongoing. No charges have been announced at this time.

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