Just a couple of months ago Justine McConville was critically ill and in an induced coma with doctors giving her little hope of survival - now the schoolgirl believes in miracles.
At the end of July her family received the devastating news that the St Ronan’s College pupil had been seriously injured in a crash in Lurgan’s Lake Street.
In a heart-breaking interview, her mother describes how she found out her daughter was severely injured and the trauma Justine has gone through since the night it happened
After weeks in a coma and months of rehabilitation, Justine is now home and very grateful to everyone who prayed for her during her recovery.
She and her family want to thank the people of Lurgan and beyond who offered their prayers and support.
A loving, kind and affectionate young lady, Justine just loves all her family especially her nieces and nephews. She is a girly girl who loves fashion, makeup, hair and music.
This girl is an inspiration. Nothing puts her downJustine’s mum Barbara
Her mum Barbara explained: “That Friday night of the crash, Justine was at her brother Neil’s house doing her little niece’s hair. She left to go home to watch Big Brother.
“When we got the phone call we were all in total shock and rushed to the scene.
“My son Conor went in the ambulance and the rest of the family followed in the car. We waited in the family room until a doctor came to explain Justine’s injuries.
“She had a fractured skull, a bleed on the brain, facial fractures and a fractured pelvis. Justine was later moved to ICU in the Royal Victoria Hospital.”
Justine was put in an induced coma and she was on a lot of medication to keep her alive.
“She was critically ill. We really weren’t sure if she was going pull through. Doctors told us they were just trying to keep her alive at this stage.”
That Monday Justine was rushed to theatre due to swelling of her brain.
“The neuro surgeons removed two parts of her skull and put them in her stomach to keep them sterile and nourished,” said her mum.
“Unfortunately this did not work and not long after she was rushed back into theatre.
“The surgeons found a blood clot and removed it successfully.
“However, Justine was not out of the woods yet and we had been told to prepare for the worst.
“It was an awful night for each and every one of us. Doctors gave us no hope and we were so terrified of losing her.”
Justine remained in the coma for five weeks.
Her mum said: “A lot happened in these five weeks - lots of down times. Times when we were scared, afraid, terrified - just hoping and lots of praying, praying for a miracle.
“They slowly brought Justine round,” said Barbara. “She had a very hard time and lots to still overcome. She had a tracheostomy inserted which will explain the scar on her neck,
“Justine was determined to get better. Nothing stops her and all she has done is smile. All the doctors and nurses adored her. She was the perfect patient.
“Her last surgery was to get the skull inserted back in. This was a four hour operation and we couldn’t wait till it was over.
“There was a chance her bone would reject her skull which meant she may have needed to get metal plate but thankfully God answered everyone’s prayers and all was successful.”
Justine stayed in at the Royal for an extra two weeks after this surgery and then she was transferred to Musgrave for rehabilitation.
Justine’s goal was to get out of hospital and home for Halloween and this she has done.
Barbara said: “She worked her hardest at everything the doctors asked. She has done it all with a smile even through all the pain.
“This girl is an inspiration. Nothing puts her down. She just got up and got on with it. She made it a lot easier on us. It was great to see her being so positive.”
The St Ronan’s pupil just loves working with children and aspires to, in the future, work with them
Her mum added: “Justine is so thankful for everyone’s support and prayers. She now believes in miracles. She is now focusing on getting herself 100% again so she can get back to her education.”
Justine and her family would like to thank all who helped at the scene especially Anto Ganley and Danielle McCrory. They would also like to pay tribute to the paramedics and staff at Craigavon Hospital.
And special thanks to the Intensive Care staff and the RVH and the neuro surgeons for all their hard work. “They are amazing and work miracles everyday,” said Barbara. “Thanks to the family and new friends we met who were also going through similar tragedies. Thanks to all the staff at Musgrave Park Hospital for their continuous support.
“And finally, thank you to the community. You all pulled through and all your prayers were answered. We are forever grateful.”