Help make Debbie's Dream come true

By Lisa CleverdonTHE EADT is launching today an appeal to send a teenage road crash victim and her family on the holiday they never thought they would see together.

By Lisa Cleverdon

THE EADT is launching today an appeal to send a teenage road crash victim and her family on the holiday they never thought they would see together.

Wendy and Simon Parkes had their world torn apart in November when their beloved daughter, Deborah, known to family and friends as Debs, was thrown through a brick wall after a collision with a van.

In the weeks that followed, the devastated family tried to come to terms with the fact the fun-loving teenager might never again smile, laugh, or be aware of the world around her - but Debs, who turned 17 in January, fought back against the odds and pulled herself out of her coma.

Now the East Anglian Daily Times has launched the Debbie's Dream appeal to raise the £4,000 needed to send the Parkes family, including their three other children, on a holiday of a lifetime to celebrate getting their daughter back.

Although it is unknown whether Debs will make a full recovery from her injuries, her slow but significant progress has astounded doctors at Northwick Park Hospital in London, who believe there is no reason she should not be able to make the journey to Utah for the two-week family holiday in August.

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It will not be an easy trip - Debs will not only have to travel in a wheelchair, but will need medication and special attention throughout her stay in America.

But her family, from Red Lodge, near Newmarket, believe it will be just what she needs. Mr Parkes, 39, said the holiday would mean the absolute world to his family after going through months of heartache and grief.

"We have never been abroad as a family before and when Debs had her accident we thought we never would," he added

"So the thought of being able to spend two weeks together, without any worries and with Debs surrounded by the people who love her, is just overwhelming."

Mr and Mrs Parkes and their children - Debs, Becky, 14, 10-year-old Chloe, 10, and Reece, nine - have been invited to stay with friends near the Edwards USAF base in Utah.

Doctors have said a tube that has been inserted into Debs' stomach for food and medication will be out by the summer.

She is already talking and standing for short periods, and her family hope she will have made even more progress by August.

"We have been through so much and this holiday would give us the chance to just spend some time with each other," said Mr Parkes. "Debs has always wanted to go to America and this would be a dream come true for her.

"It would mean so much for us and for the rest of the family, but more importantly, Debs will get so much out of it and ultimately it will help her as a person."

The EADT now hopes that its readers will do what they can to help send Debs to America. Any amount of money, no matter how small, will help towards the cost of the trip, and towards making the family's dream come true.

Steve Curtis and Lorraine Smith, who run the Bell Inn in Kennett, have already pledged to raise as much money as they can by holding a charity football match.

A team from the Kennett and Kentford Football Club will take on 11 regulars from the pub in Newmarket Road at 2pm on May 15. Mike Dillon, who played for Tottenham Hotspurs in the 1970s and now lives in Gazeley, will be joining the pub team for the match.

Mr Curtis said: "We had already planned to hold the event to raise money for a new pavilion at the football club, but when we heard about the appeal being launched for Debs, we wanted to do whatever we could to help.

"I went to see Mr Parkes, who showed me a video of Debs in hospital. I have a daughter of a similar age and the tape really touched me on a personal level - it was so devastating to watch."

Anyone who wants to make a donation should contact 01284 700864. Details of a special bank account being set up for the appeal will be published in the EADT later this week.

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