Simran is still smiling- Preston girl makes inspirational recovery

PUBLISHED: 21:55 28 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:22 20 February 2013

Simran Rai

Simran Rai

A Preston girl who suffered severe injuries in a holiday accident has made an inspirational recovery Photography by Kirsty Thompson

The print version of this article appeared in the December 2011 issue of Lancashire Life

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Simran is a name that means meditative in god. The poignancy is not lost on Jasvinder Rai, who said a lot of prayers when her ten-year-old daughter was involved in an accident while on holiday.

Little Simran went go-karting while on a family break in Spain. What should have been a fun-filled day ended in near tragedy.

Jasvinder told her daughter to ask a man running the track for full instructions prior to driving off. But before they knew what was happening, the kart shot forward and crashed into a metal barrier, striking Simran across the shoulders.

Medics were called but the man pulled Simran from the kart and put her over his shoulder unlikely to help someone with back injuries.

The nightmare had begun for the Rai family and after extensive x-rays in a local hospital five doctors surrounded the youngsters bed and concluded Simran had a broken neck and had dislocated her spine.

She was transferred by ambulance to another hospital and her parents were not allowed to travel with her. We thought she had whiplash but at the other hospital we were told she needed major surgery. In the worst case, it could be fatal, says Jasvinder, who lives with her husband Manjit in Fulwood, Preston. I sat down and cried I couldnt believe something like that could cause so much damage. The operation took ten hours the worst time of my life.

Happily, she came through and the skilful doctors managed to repair some of the damage. However, her arms were paralysed and she was told she was never likely to lead a normal life.

After four weeks in hospital Simran, who has two older sisters, was able to travel back to Lancashire for further treatment in Manchester. The girl now has three screws in her neck, pelvic bone has been grafted into her upper spine and she is wearing a support collar most of the day. But shes still smiling.

In spite of everything, she has never complained she has great inner strength, says Jasvinder. We are very proud of her. Simran, who has surprised doctors by regaining the use of her arms, says: I used to love swimming but Im not allowed to do that any more. Instead, Im learning to play the keyboard.

As well as showing an aptitude for music, Simran has also got back into the swing of work at St Peters School in Fulwood, picking up some top marks in exams. Jasvinder adds: I wanted Simrans story to be told because shes been so brave but also as a warning to other parents. I wouldnt want anyone else to go through this.

The good news is that further surgery has been ruled out for the time being at least and the doctors are hopeful that she can continue to make progress through physiotherapy. Im determined to be back swimming again one day, says Simran. You wouldnt bet against her achieving her dream.

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