Sligo-native Elaine O’Halloran broke her spine in two places in a fatal car crash in Florida.
The sister of an Irish woman who was grievously injured in a fatal car crash in Florida in November is hopeful that she will walk again despite the fact her sister broke her spine in two places.
Co. Sligo-born Elaine O’Halloran, 24, was the only survivor of November 25 car crash in which two American friends were killed. Her spine was broken in two places. She has undergone intensive reconstruction surgery but remains paralyzed from the waist down. O’Halloran is believed to have regained some feeling in her legs, however, giving her family hope that the Irish horse groom will make a full recovery.
"Elaine had to undergo a six-hour spinal reconstruction surgery but she is doing better now and is in rehabilitation,” O’Halloran’s sister Jean explained to the Irish Independent.
“Because she broke her spine in two places she is currently paralyzed from the abdomen down but she has felt some sensation in her leg and toes so we're hopeful that she will be able to walk again."
O’Halloran, who is from Strandhill in Co. Sligo, has been living in the US for the past two years, working as a groom for Co. Clare show jumper David Blake. She was planning on returning to Ireland last week but since the accident has decided to remain in Florida where she can receive rehabilitation treatment.
"She had been planning on coming home last week for a visit but after the accident she wants to stay in the US and get the best rehabilitation treatment she can get. She is looking to come home to Ireland soon, though,” her sister said.
As O’Halloran had no health insurance to cover her medical costs, her employer has established a GoFundMe campaign for $500,000 to help cover the large rehabilitation bills. The campaign has so far raised over $150,000.
"We're hoping to raise $500,000 for Elaine's treatment. We've been so shocked by how kind people have been with their donations. It's really heartwarming.
“The donations have come from random people in Ireland, the US and the showjumping community in the US,” Jean told Extra.ie.
O’Halloran is currently undergoing rehabilitation at St. Mary’s Medical Trauma Center in West Palm Beach.
You can contribute to the GoFundMe campaign here.