Monday 21 January 2019

Teen left orphaned after horror crash forced to have leg amputated

'I have no dad... I have no leg' - words of teen after crash that claimed life of father, left her boyfriend in intensive care

Vanessa McMahon lost a leg in the crash
Vanessa McMahon lost a leg in the crash
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

A teenage girl who had her leg amputated following a horror crash that killed her father also tragically lost her mother just four years ago, her brother has revealed.

Despite suffering life-changing injuries in the road accident, which also left her boyfriend in intensive care, Gerry McMullan has said that his sister Vanessa McMahon is "doing amazing" and has even said that she would love to compete in the Paralympics one day.

The collision between the van Vanessa was travelling in and a tractor happened on the R522 in Co Cork at Ballincurrig on the Buttevant to Liscarroll Road shortly after 1pm on Monday, June 4.

Patrick McMahon (30s) was killed in the incident, his daughter Vanessa (15) and her boyfriend, Thomas Crowley (17), were both critically injured.

Gerry McMullan with his sister Vanessa
Gerry McMullan with his sister Vanessa

Vanessa's brother Gerry (27) gave an update on his sister's condition and said she has had a remarkable recovery so far.

Gerry, who loves in South London, told "Straight after the crash they said it was basically going to be either her leg or her life, so she ended up having it amputated.

"Her other leg was also badly damaged but luckily the doctors managed to save it, other than that she just had smaller injuries, cuts and bruises really.

"She's doing so well, she's still in Cork University Hospital but she managed to get out of intensive care pretty quickly, she was actually awake and trying to speak on the day of the crash, she was mouthing, 'I love you.'

"When she was able to write, she wrote, 'I have no leg' and then she said, 'I have no dad' - that broke my heart," Gerry said.

"She's doing good though, she had her first physio session yesterday and she will hopefully get to go outside in her wheelchair today, it's her first time out of her bed since it happened.

Patrick McMahon was killed in a car crash
Patrick McMahon was killed in a car crash

"She might get to visit her boyfriend, he was in intensive care with swelling on his brain but thankfully they brought that down, he also broke his eye socket and jaw.

"Thankfully now he's awake and fully compos mentis."

Gerry explained that his mother had him and his two brothers in the UK.

After she split from his father, Gerry's mother later met Patrick McMahon and they moved to Ireland.

The couple had Vanessa and her brother in Cork and the family lived there for several years before returning to the UK.

Gerry added: "She grew up in England, unfortunately we  lost our mum in 2008, she had a heart attack.

Gerry with Vanessa before the crash
Gerry with Vanessa before the crash

"Patrick had to go back to Ireland to care for his own mother and we moved in with our nan, she's an absolute angel, she's in her 80s and she keeps us all together.

"Vanessa moved to Ireland last summer to live with Patrick and in a strange way I'm glad she had that time to really get to know him and spend more time with him."

He said that given the extent of the rehabilitation Vanessa will need, she would need to be transferred to Dublin, but as they have no family there they are hoping to bring her to a hospital in South London when she is ready.

Gerry said: "She will need extensive care, at the moment my brothers and I are going back and forth to Cork to be with her and she has Patrick's partner and her other siblings in Cork.

"We have nobody in Dublin so we would like to get her back to London when we can.

"I'm training to become a personal trainer and we've joked about helping her to become strong enough for the Paralympics, she thinks it's an amazing idea.

"She is so positive and she just wants to start her physio and to be able to move a bit more, I think rehab might be hard on her though."

To help to pay for the Junior Cert student's prosthetic leg and treatment, Gerry is planning to run from John o'Groats in Scotland to Land's End in Cornwall in August to raise money.

He has raised almost €1,800 in just three days and says the support has been overwhelming.

"Basically, my mate and I had wanted to do it for years, we said that we would try to walk it.

"Unfortunately he passed away from a brain tumour a couple of months ago so I want to do it for him.

"I'm going to run it though as I want to inspire Vanessa and show her that you can do anything when you set your mind to it.

"The support so far has been phenomenal, I didn't realise how much people care and it has restored my faith in humanity - everything else seems irrelevant now."

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