What doctors say about a Hillsborough school girl after incredible recovery from injuries
A H1LLSBOROUGH school girl has defied odds to make a full recovery after being knocked down by a car earlier this year.
12-year-old Stephanie Shannon was left in a coma after being hit by a car as she was walking home from school last March. She was knocked unconscious close to the junctions of the Leopogues, Edentrillick and Ballynahinch Roads - known locally as McAdam's junction.
Doctors say the young girl is a "walking miracle".
The Banbridge Academy student was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast after suffering multiple injuries including a broken pelvis, fractured leg, eye damage and severe brain injury.
Despite doctors warning her parents Deidre and Brian that 90 per cent of patients suffering similar injuries never wake up, Stephanie's fighting spirit saw her emerge from the coma just over two weeks after the accident.
Deidre paid tribute to her "beautiful daughter" after what she said had been a three-month nightmare.
"She's been a determined wee fighter through it all," said Deidre, who welcomed her daughter home on Friday June 4.
"Her strength and determination are an inspiration to us. We are incredibly proud of her."
Deidre, who is a member of Ballyvally Archers Club along with Stephanie, described how her husband called her that afternoon to tell her to get an ambulance when he found their daughter lying on the road as he went to pick her up from the school bus.
"The image of Stephanie lying there is something I will never forget," said the mother-of-three. From the beginning the doctors were straight with us and told us it was a very, very serious injury."
Stephanie's mum and dad kept a bedside vigil alongside her sister Ellen and brother Rory and were overjoyed when she opened her eyes a few weeks later.
"The brain surgeons, doctors and therapists are all convinced that Stephanie is a miracle," said Deidre. "She is walking and talking pretty much as before the accident. She still has a lot of recovering and therapies to attend to but we are sure she'll make a total recovery.
"One of the doctors treating her said 'You are a walking miracle. You're going to have to do something special with your life'."
During her time in hospital Stephanie was inundated with messages from well-wishers, which brought great comfort to the family Deidre said.
"We are grateful to all the friends and people who helped us through this and offered prayers and support. Some held our hands through the darkest days ever and we especially want to say thank you. They know who they are," said Deidre. "We are also grateful to the specialists at the children's hospital. We wouldn't be where we are today without them and will forever be in their debt."
As Stephanie, who hopes to return to school in September, and her family continue to recover from such a traumatic incident, Deirdre called for local politicians to put road safety at the top of their agendas to prevent similar accidents happening again.
"I really hope that the two crossroads concerned are treated as urgent cases to curtail the number of accidents there."