Belfast Telegraph

Co Antrim woman Lauren McGivern in charity run after crash recovery 'miracle'

Lauren McGivern with mum Jennifer
Lauren McGivern with mum Jennifer
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

A woman from Co Antrim who lost her boyfriend in a crash and was told she would never walk again is running the Belfast half marathon.

Lauren McGivern (22) was driving her partner Ryan to work early on March 25 last year when her car hit a patch of black ice at Nutts Corner, sending the vehicle into a wall.

Ryan (22) tragically died in the collision while Lauren, from Crumlin, suffered a broken pelvis and a serious brain injury.

She told the Belfast Telegraph that she didn't learn of her boyfriend's death until six weeks later in hospital, and said the loss inspired her fight for recovery.

"I don't remember the morning of the accident or any part of that day," she said.

"I was in hospital for seven weeks, in a coma for the first three. I don't know how I got through it."

On the day of the accident her injuries were so severe that the Air Ambulance team placed her in an induced coma.

It was five days before she initially regained consciousness.

Lauren added: "At the start I couldn't even speak properly.

"My arm needed metal implants, then I had to get physio while still lying on the bed for my broken pelvis to strengthen my muscles enough to stand up."

Ms McGivern's family stayed at her bedside constantly throughout her recovery.

"I couldn't walk but they made sure I always had someone to talk to and was never bored.

"They didn't tell me why I was there at that point, I kept asking what happened to me."

Lauren said Ryan's death didn't seem real at first.

"It didn't sink in while I was in hospital and there was so much going on around me and I was focused on my recovery," she added.

"When I got discharged from the Royal and went over to the brain injury unit at Musgrave Hospital, I was largely on my own and that's when it became really hard to take in.

"I don't know what kept me going.

"With my boyfriend passing away, I was thinking I was lucky to be alive and was living the life he should have.

"I thought: 'I've made it through so I have to make the most of it'."

After moving from a wheelchair to crutches, Lauren is now training four to five times a week in the gym to prepare for her first half marathon in Belfast on September 22.

"I started to feel I could do this when I did a small part of the Belfast Marathon fun run," she added. "I'm finding the training really hard but, with encouragement, I'll be able to do it.

"After breaking my pelvis I still don't feel completely back to normal. I can still get pain and would have to take paracetamol when I'm running."

Lauren said the Air Ambulance charity was the natural choice when choosing where to donate her sponsorship money.

"I just felt I had to do something. I didn't think the Air Ambulance was something I would ever need, but I did, so I realise how important it is, it could happen to anyone at any time."

The Air Ambulance costs £2m a year to run, has had over 930 callouts since its inception in July 2017, and can reach any location in Northern Ireland in 25 minutes.

Kerry Anderson, head of fundraising at Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, added: "We are so proud of how far Lauren has come since the accident, and so grateful that she's chosen us as her charity for the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon."

For more information, visit www.airambulanceni.org or call 028 9262 2677.

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