Young mother in coma after US car smash
AN Irish mother is in a coma in a US hospital after the car in which she was travelling crashed into a wall.
Nicole Ryan-Graham (27), who is originally from Limerick, was put on a life-support machine following the accident on February 8 in Kansas.
As she is not an American citizen, Nicole's family are appealing for support to help pay her medical bills.
Her mother, Caroline Ryan O'Connell, is at her bedside. Her father, Brian Higgins, has returned to Limerick after flying to the US to be with Nicole.
Nicole's aunt, Mary Stundon, from Corbally, Limerick, said: "The weather was very bad at the time and the car skidded and hit a wall. Nicole was a passenger in the car.
"She used to work as a court clerk in Kansas, but became unemployed at Christmas, and has since been left with no insurance. She has three young girls. While she has been living in the US for 13 years, she is still not a full citizen.
"They are weaning her off the ventilator, but she is still in a coma. Hopefully, she'll be ok -- we are all praying for that. She will be in hospital for some time yet, and the treatment bills are going to be huge," Mary added.
Nicole lived in Moyross, on the northside of Limerick city, and in nearby Meelick, Co Clare, before moving to the US with her mother. Her 90-year-old great-grandmother, Dolly, lives in Moyross.
Nicole returned home on a short break a few years ago. She is a single mother with three girls, Kendra (11), Katie (5), and 20-month-old Kelsey.
"They know she is in hospital and asleep but are asking questions. They want to be with their mother," Mary said.
"Nicole's mum lives in Connecticut. Her dad, Brian, lives back here and had to come home for work. Nicole will have to go through a lot of rehabilitation," she added.
A benefit night to raise money to meet medical bills is to be held on March 12 at Greenhills Hotel in Limerick, with tickets at €10 each.