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Kayleigh's brave fight after crash

PUBLISHED: 05:01 25 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:20 24 February 2010

JUST eight months ago Kayleigh Cavey's parents were told their 15-year-old daughter had broken her back.

The teenager came within a millimetre of being paralysed for life after an horrific car crash which left her in intensive care, with shattered bones and severely bruised lungs.

JUST eight months ago Kayleigh Cavey's parents were told their 15-year-old daughter had broken her back.

The teenager came within a millimetre of being paralysed for life after an horrific car crash which left her in intensive care, with shattered bones and severely bruised lungs.

Doctors told Kayleigh's distraught parents that one of the six vertebra damaged in her back was dangerously close to puncturing her spinal column.

Had the shattered bone lodged just a millimetre nearer, the teenager from Ashley, near Newmarket, would have been left without the use of her lower body forever.

But brave Kayleigh is slowing battling her way along the road to recovery. Desperate to get back on her feet, the determined teenager is walking again.

Despite having missed some of her final exams at school, the student now hopes to take a further education course later this year as she plans for a future in the travel industry.

Kayleigh said: "I came so close to being paralysed for life. But when I realised I was going to be okay I just wanted to get walking again and now I'm walking fine.

"I have a few aches and pains when I stand or sit in the same position for a while and get a bit depressed sometimes but when I think of how my life could be I am very thankful. These niggles are nothing."

The teenager said she may well need more surgery to straighten her spine.

"It is only cosmetic. There's nothing medically wrong, it's just my spine still curves out slightly so I might have to have that corrected within the next couple of years."

Kayleigh was involved in the car crash last June at Six Mile Bottom, near Newmarket, when the vehicle she was travelling in overturned and crashed into a telegraph pole.

She spent two months, including her 16th birthday, in a hospital bed at Addenbrooke's, in Cambridge, as the six broken vertebra in her spine slowly began to heal.

Kayleigh returned home wearing a plaster cast around her torso, which was replaced after another six weeks with a removable plastic brace, to support her back during the day.

Her father John said although Kayleigh's progress had been good, doctors were now seriously considering the cosmetic surgery to straighten his daughter's spine still further.

"It has been a difficult time, but Kayleigh is getting there slowly," he said. "She is going through counselling at the moment to try and put things right. She has been depressed, as she has tried to take on little jobs to earn herself some money, but she cannot stand for more than 20 minutes without her back aching.

"Kayleigh also suffers from headaches, which make things even harder, but she is getting better every day."

Kayleigh, who missed some of her final GSCE exams now plans to begin a travel and tourism course at college in Cambridge later this year.

She had hoped to train as a beautician, but changed her vocation due to the amount of standing a health and beauty course would involve.

"Beauty therapy would have involved a lot of standing so I'm looking to go into the travel industry, may be as a rep or even an air hostess."

Father-of-five Mr Cavey, together with his wife Jeanie helped keep Kayleigh's spirits high during her hospital stay by spending as much time with her as possible.

"We are obviously grateful, as things could have been a lot worse. But we are very pleased with how she is doing, and we are very proud of her. She still has the odd little tear, which is to be expected, but she has kept her chin up well."


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