A girl with severe disabilities who has been stuck in Paris as a result of the crisis is on her way home — after a coach company answered her mother’s plea for help.
Kirsten McCombe (6), who is confined to a wheelchair, was due to have an operation this Thursday to allow her to walk.
After being stuck in the French capital for almost a week, her desperate mother Alana made an emotional plea yesterday asking for help.
On hearing the family’s plight, Moneymore-based bus company Chambers Coaches came to the rescue.
It is expected that Kirsten, her brothers Tyler (11) and Ross (9) and their parents David and Alana, will arrive back home in Belfast today.
Speaking from Paris, Alana told the Belfast Telegraph she is hugely grateful to Chambers Coaches, as well as the dozens of people in Northern Ireland who have helped bring her family home.
“I still can’t believe it. We are just so glad to be going home,” she said last night.
“The airport in France is still closed and even though we were booked on a flight for Wednesday, nothing is reliable at the moment.
“We have been told that we are getting picked up from Charles de Gaulle airport at 1.30am and we should be back in London by 7am.
“I know it’s going to be a long journey, but I will just be glad to be in the UK. It’s one step closer to home.
“Kirstin’s surgery is on Thursday, so we will be home in time for that.”
Since the volcanic ash cloud forced the cancellation of flights across Europe, Kirsten’s parents — who brought the kids on a holiday to EuroDisney — have been frantic about how they were going to get back to Northern Ireland.
While their airline, easyJet has provided them with accommodation because of the six-year-old’s condition, things like food shopping have been difficult.
“It’s been hard. We don’t speak French at all and it’s been hard to get even simple things and find shops.
“Kirsten can’t walk and is in a wheelchair buggy. She is blind, has a heart condition and also has water on the brain.
“Her food also has to be pureed.
“It’s hard to explain that Kirsten can’t eat burgers and chips.
“Tyler and Ross want to get home to see their friends too. They actually even want to go to school.
“It has been distressing trying to keep the kids happy, as well as wondering how we were going to get home for the operation.
“Kirsten has been pencilled in for surgery on her legs to snip a tendon to see if she will ever walk — as well as eye surgery.
“She has no left eye and they want to do surgery to try and keep the socket open for a glass eye for later on in life.”