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In Full . . .

Suzie’s back home at last

Posted on October 20 2012 at 1:10:56

Taylor, Amy and Suzie

Alvechurch teenager Suzie Warner, who was seriously injured in the school coach crash in France, is back home after more than seven months in hospital.

She was discharged from Stoke Mandeville at the end of September, just in time for her 14th birthday, celebrated with a big welcome home party at Hopwood rugby club, and has even started returning to school.

Her mum, Viv, told The Village how after the crash on the way home from an Alvechurch Middle School ski trip in February, Suzie was initially taken to hospital in Reims before being transferred to Paris, where surgeons operated on her broken neck.

“When she woke, days after surgery, she could only move her head, right shoulder and elbow – everything else was paralysed,” says Viv.

Two weeks later, Suzie was taken by air ambulance to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where she spent 28 days in intensive care, unable to breathe without support. But gradually, she made remarkable progress.

“Two months after the accident, Suzie was able to move both arms and was able to twitch her big toes,” her mum recalls.

“She was transferred to the National Spinal Injury Centre at Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury, in mid April.” There, her rehabilitation involved learning to do everything again.

“To begin with just sitting in an arm chair was exhausting,” says Viv. “Gradually the nerves of her spinal cord began to improve, sending signals to her muscles and skin which meant that she was able to move and feel more and more.

“Very few people with spinal injuries in their neck will ever walk again, so Suzie’s recovery is remarkable.”

Viv said friends and family had been a huge support. 

“Philip and I particularly want to thank the many parents of Suzie’s school friends who drove groups of them to Birmingham and Stoke Mandeville, some three or four times, to visit Suzie and offer much needed friendship and support to the whole family during some very difficult times.”

The welcome home party raised money for Spinal Research, a charity helping to find a cure for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury.

Donations can be made at http://www.spinal-research.org/get-involved/donate/donate-now/

Above: Suzie Warner (right) with Taylor Little, of Barnt Green, who was also badly injured, and Amy Rippington, who lost her father, Pete, in the crash.

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