More than £100,000 raised to help Co Down teenager left with life-changing injuries following road crash
THE family of a Co Down teenager left with life-changing injuries following a road crash have told of the "heart-warming" support they have received after more than £100,000 has been raised to help him.
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 student 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 the property needed for another family’s respite care in June, Cian's aunt Claire Carson last month launched an online fundraiser to help raise £50,000 to adapt her nephew’s own home.
Within just three weeks, more than £100,000 has been raised to help the teenager.
Additional funds will be used to buy him specialist equipment which may help him be able to communicate.
The now 16-year-old uses a wheelchair, is tube-fed, has a tracheotomy, is non-verbal and suffers from severe dystonia, a movement disorder which causes his muscles to painfully contract and spasm.
Renovations to Cian's family home in Castlewellan are now underway with the structure for the teenager's new bedroom, shower room and a store room for his equipment, now erected.
Speaking to The Irish News, Ms Carson said the past three weeks had been "positive".
"Phone haven't stopped. Emails haven't stopped," she said.
"It is this lovely community spirit. It is so heart-warming. The community have been so good and generous from the very start and helped us in any way they can.
"It is just continuing. Every day it is something new. Every day we think it is going to settle, but every day there is just another offer or we see another post on Facebook".
Ms Carson said the fund was taking a "huge amount of pressure" off the family.
"Just knowing we are at the point of being able to look at specialist equipment....that's massive to us," she said.
"That's the big thing, to be able to improve his quality of life. It is letting the family move forward.
"There is literally too many people to thank individually, but to put out a massive thank you to the community and beyond to anyone who has helped and supported us and just to let people know this is going to make a massive difference to Cian's future".