The family of a car crash victim left paralysed in France have spoken about their desperate attempts to travel to see her.
Sarah Mcnee, 40, was visiting her mum in central France when she lost control of her car and crashed into a tree and a brick wall eight weeks ago.
The former medical rep, from Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, had to be resuscitated twice at the scene and was on life support for three weeks.
She has now been left paralysed, unable to speak, blind in one eye, and has had operations to help deal with a bleed on her brain that was found after the accident, reports the Hertfordshire Mercury.
Her family are now fundraising in order to continue their visits to be at her bedside.
Claire, Sarah’s older sister, described the moment she first heard about the accident and went to see her sister.
“I heard literally on the Tuesday night that it happened. It was at about 9.30pm, and by 10.30, I had packed a bag and was driving there.
“I drove for 10 hours because there weren’t any flights to where she was, so the only way I could get there was to drive to her.”
When Clare arrived in France, she explained that Sarah had just gone through her first seven hour brain operation to deal with the bleed on her brain.
“When I got there she had had her first operation and was on life support,” Claire said.
“I had to walk out. I couldn’t believe I was actually dealing with this.
“It’s shocking and horrible to watch someone you love suffer. You never think it will happen to you.
“I’m totally traumatised. There’s only 18 months between me and Sarah, we are very close so it’s really upsetting.”
Claire explained the extent of the serious injuries Sarah suffered from the accident.
“When they were resuscitating her they broke two of her ribs and punctured her lung. Her lungs are better now,” she said.
“She was on life support for three weeks. She’s blind in one eye, she has one good eye left.
“She caught meningitis and sepsis and is currently on strong antibiotics waiting for her next operation.
“Another operation will be to put plate back where part of her skull was removed.”
Despite Sarah’s injuries, Claire explained that the family remain positive about her recovery.
She said: “This doesn’t mean to say that in a year or 18 months she won’t come through to the other side.
“But she needs encouragement from her family, to help stimulate her.
“The family want to be by her bedside.
“She’s an intelligent girl, she worked as a medical rep for many years.
“She turned 40 in August, but she looks 30. She’s very fit and health conscious, she would do about an hour’s exercise every day, running, cycling.
“Now she’s not walking or talking, you can imagine the impact on her.
“She doesn’t deserve this, she needs a second chance, she needs encouragement and her family at her bedside.”
At the moment Sarah is unable to move or speak, the only way she is able to communicate with those around her is by blinking.
“She can only communicate through blinking with her good eye," Claire said.
"We had some good news the other day, her good eye is focusing and following people around the room, which means it is connected to the brain.
“This is good news as the stem of her brain has been damaged.”
There is only 18 months between the two sisters and they are very close. Claire and her family want to spend more time by Sarah’s bedside to help her recover.
Claire explained that their mum, who lives in France, spends every day by her daughter’s side, but that supporting her daughter on her own is hard.
“The family has come together to take it in turns to travel over there to be with her, but the rest of the time our mum is there on her own,” she said.
“She lives an hour and a half away from the hospital and spends nine-hour days with her, which is really hard on her.”
Unfortunately due to the costs of travelling to France and back repeatedly, the family are struggling to be where they want to be at Sarah’s side.
“I go over as much as I can, I have been out there four times, but the costs are high.
“You have to pay for the Airbnb, rent a car, the flights every time.”
To help with the costs a family friend, Lucy Morris, has set up a Just Giving page to help raise the money the family need to be by Sarah’s side.
On the page she wrote: “As both Claire and Sarah’s friends, we wanted to set this page up to show our support at this difficult time.
“Sarah was involved in a terrible car accident which has resulted in fighting for her life.
“She has undergone brain surgery and has since then contracted meningitis and sepsis, setting her back on another scheduled brain surgery.
“Sarah is not giving up without a fight, and as helpless as we all feel right now, any small contribution to enable Claire and her family to be by her bedside fighting this with her is in somewhat a small way of helping.
“All that know ‘The Mcnee Sisters’ will know their bond is something that only fortunate sisters and families are lucky enough to have.
“Sarah needs this bond more than ever now to pull through and keep on fighting.
“Each trip to France and daily car journeys back and forth to the hospital will entail costs, so we would like to ask all that know Sarah to contribute whatever you can to help in some way.”
At the time of writing the page has raised £4,545.
Claire explained that Sarah never knew she was so popular.
“It’s not big amounts but everybody has put a little bit in,” she said.
“She’s such a popular girl and she never realised it. I cannot wait to tell her.”
Unfortunately Claire won’t be able to see her sister until January because the cost of travelling over New Year is so expensive.
“The next time I go over will be January 11," she said.
"I tried to look over the New Year but it was about £600, and then £250 for the car and then the Airbnb. I cannot afford it, the cost would be the same as another two trips in the new year,” she said.
To visit the Just Giving page, click here.
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