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Friday 19 July 2019

'Miracle princess' Amy turns 13 after beating odds to survive capsize

Amy with parents Sharon and Mark
Amy with parents Sharon and Mark

Amy Mulcahy, who defied the odds to survive a boat capsize in February, has celebrated her 13th birthday.

The brave schoolgirl was described by her mother Sharon as her "miracle princess" as she enjoyed a party surrounded by family and friends.

Amy, who started to talk again four weeks ago for the first time since her accident, marked her birthday on Saturday at Hugh's House and Garden in north Dublin city.

The charity has links to Temple Street Children's Hospital, where she is being treated.

As the new teenager got her hair braided and called lovingly to her toddler nephew, it was hard to believe she had been so close to death only four months ago.

Fighter

At one point, her family was told her condition was not "compatible with life".

She had been trapped underwater for an estimated 12 to 15 minutes when the rowing boat she was in with friends overturned on the River Shannon in Limerick.

"Amy's an absolute miracle to us," said Sharon.

"She's a fighter. We're so proud of the progress she's made in the last four months.

"We'll be forever grateful to Amy for the fight she's put up. She's a very bright, bubbly, lively, spirited girl - she's our princess."

Amy with parents Sharon and Mark
Amy with parents Sharon and Mark

Amy was on the river with four friends and while they were rescued, she was trapped beneath the boat. Her hair is believed to have been caught on the outriggers, which anchor the oars.

She was freed by members of Limerick City and County Fire and Rescue Service.

"When Amy arrived at the regional hospital in Limerick, Amy wasn't compatible with life," Sharon said.

"But when she later arrived at Temple Street, she started to progress.

"Even the emotional side for us as parents, it's been devastating at times. We didn't know what way it was going to turn.

"We were given really bad news about eight or nine weeks ago. Amy wasn't meant to make the recovery she's making.

"The doctors didn't think this would be the outcome but she's really progressing.

"There were some dark moments in Temple Street. I'd ask myself, 'How am I going to get through this?'

"Then a ward sister, Nuala, would come up and give me a hug. The Temple Street staff have just been amazing. There's not one person I could fault.

"Amy, for the first two months, didn't have much capabilities. She'd only just open her eyes.

"But we knew Amy was very much there and that she was very aware.

"It was a very slow start but when Amy started speaking, about four weeks ago, her progress happened very rapidly."

The schoolgirl is still unable to walk and the family knows she has a long journey ahead.

They are hoping she will be admitted to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire for continuing care in September.

A number of Amy's friends from Monaleen National School in Co Limerick travelled to the party on Saturday, as well as family from Limerick and Coventry.

Sharon also paid tribute to Amy's school and her class teacher for arranging that she meet with the class tour at Croke Park last week.

Amy's father Mark said: "We don't know what the diagnosis is yet, we really don't, but we're just waiting on Amy."

Sharon added: "Amy is the person that's going to lead the way. They don't know what the future will hold, she's the one who's going to dictate the future in what she'll be able to do."

A GoFundMe appeal for Amy has raised more than €30,000. To donate, go to: gofundme.com/support-for-junior-rower-amy.

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