'No Christmas this year for me' - Heartbreak of scrambler victim's wife
The wife of a man who suffered a devastating brain injury after he was hit by a scrambler bike has said "there will be no Christmas" for her.
Anzhela Kotsinian (44) will spend Christmas and New Year like every day since June - maintaining a vigil by her husband's hospital bed.
Ilabek Avetian (39) was catastrophically injured by a dirt bike as the couple lay sunbathing in Darndale Park, north Dublin.
The bike ran over them, crushing Ilabek's skull and fracturing Anzhela's pelvis.
While Ilabek suffered appalling injuries, Anzhela is still riddled with pain six months later.
Ilabek lost an eye and has been in Beaumont Hospital ever since. His future is uncertain due to brain damage.
"There will be no Christmas for me. Each weekend, each day, is the same for me now. I spend it in hospital by Ilabek's side," Anzhela said.
"My birthday was October 31 and I didn't mark it because I have no one to mark it with, and it's just the same with Christmas.
"Ilabek and I moved to Ireland together and we looked forward to birthdays and Christmases here, but now that's all changed."
The couple, who are origin- ally from Armenia, had only recently moved to Dublin when the tragedy happened.
Anzhela has spoken out to highlight the danger of the bikes, especially to parents considering buying one for a child for Christmas.
Armenians mark Christmas on January 6, the feast of the Epiphany, but there will be no celebrations for Anzhela as she sits at her husband's bedside.
As well as the isolation, she has to endure a great deal of pain and the fear of homelessness.
"I have a lot of pain in my pelvis since it was fractured in June," Anzhela said.
"I had an appointment with a GP and she gave me medication for pain, but I had to stop taking it as it was making me feel unwell.
"I sleep very little, maybe two or three hours a night, due to the pain.
"I spent so much time thinking about Ilabek, but I need help now to get through this so I can be stronger for him. I find it painful to walk or sit."
Anzhela is at risk of losing her home as she is living in temporary accommodation.
Despite the fact she has been told she can get housing assistance from the State due to her situation, she is unable to find a home in the middle of the housing crisis.
"I have been told I am entitled to Housing Assistance Payment, which is good, but I can't find anywhere to rent," Anzhela said.
"I have looked online at hundreds of properties but no one gets back. If anyone could assist with renting a home, this would help reduce the stress of the situation."
The former teacher, whose husband had worked as a plasterer in Dublin, added: "We never came to Ireland not to work.
"We didn't want help from the State. We came here to work hard and one day build our own business, to buy a home, but that isn't the way things happened.
"We could never have imagined that day in our worst nightmares.
"It changed everything, and now my job is to be by my husband's side for as long as it takes."
The public have helped raise more than €36,000 for Ilabek since his injury, for which Anzhela is very grateful, but the funds are to "go towards helping Ilabek and not for myself".
"I must find a home myself and try to get physio for my injury," she said.
"I will miss my family at Christmas, they live in Russia, but this is the way my life is now. I have to be strong for Ilabek."
Anzhela is keen to connect with schools in Dublin and talk to children about the dangers of scrambler bikes to put them off asking for them as presents.