A TEENAGER left with life-changing injuries following a road crash has returned home after well wishers raised £170,000 to have it adapted.
Cian Milligan from Castlewellan had been on his way to school in Downpatrick in October 2020 when the car he was travelling in was involved in a collision with a bus near Clough.
Then aged 14, the St Patrick’s Grammar pupil was left with injuries so severe that he was airlifted to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. Having suffered a devastating brain injury, shattered pelvis, fractured skull, laceration of the spleen, broken ribs and a facial injury, Cian was admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, where he remained for two months.
After time spent at a specialist brain injury rehabilitation centre in Surrey, he was told he could return home. But with his family home not suitable for his specialist needs, he moved into an already-adapted rental property nearby. However, with that property needed for another family’s respite care, Cian and his family had to move into other adapted, rental accommodation.
Last year, his aunt, Claire Carson launched an online fundraiser to help raise £50,000 to adapt her nephew’s own home. Over the course of the next few months, around £170,000 was raised and work was able to begin. Now, just over nine months on, the work is complete and Cian and his family, including his mother, Brenda and two brothers, Ryan and Shay have been able to return.
Speaking to The Irish News, Brenda Milligan said returning to the family home, after “living out of a bag” was “amazing”.
The mother-of-three said Cian is “aware” he is home and he is now “comfortable”.
“The other two boys are so excited to be home. They have been passed from pillar to post.”
She said renovations include a new annex for Cian, who will turn 17 next month.
“There is a whole new part of the house for Cian on the lower floor,” she said.
“Cian got a whole new bedroom with a level out the back. He has his shower room which is huge and a storage room for Cian’s medical and personal equipment. Cian is always with us. If there are carers here, they are involved with us. They are part of the family too. I was able to buy a hoist for the living room. We can hoist him on to the sofa.
“I feel he knows he’s home. He’s with the boys and he’s comfortable. He is really trying to hard. I just feel as his mummy he is really happy to be home.”
She added that the support the family had received had been “heart-warming”.
“It makes you feel like people have just really embraced him,” she said.
“I just feel everyone wishes him well. Everyone is rooting for him. Being home in this house, it is so warming. It is so lovely. People are so good. It makes you realise how much community means.”