Mansfield dad’s grief after daughter left in coma

Neil Gregory has been left devastated after his daughter Caitlin was left in a coma after being hit by a car.
Neil Gregory has been left devastated after his daughter Caitlin was left in a coma after being hit by a car.

A family are praying for their daughter to recover after she was left in a coma after being hit by a car in Mansfield.

Caitlin Gregory has been in hospital ever since the accident more than two months ago – but her family are praying she may soon recover .

Caitlin Gregory has been described as a friend to anyone.

Caitlin Gregory has been described as a friend to anyone.

The 24-year-old was nearly killed when she was hit by a car while on a night out in Mansfield in the early hours of Sunday, November 29.

The crash caused major head trauma and Caitlin has been in a coma for the past 10 weeks.

But her friends and family say “she’s still Caitlin” and are holding out hope she will recover.

Neil Gregory, Caitlin’s dad, of Forest Town, has spoken of how his “perfect daughter” carries on her fight to get her life back.

Caitlin loves nothing more than spending time with her godchildren  pictured with Ava, aged three, and Elsie, 19 months.

Caitlin loves nothing more than spending time with her godchildren  pictured with Ava, aged three, and Elsie, 19 months.

The 54-year-old said: “I thought my life had come to an end when she had the accident – it’s been a horrific 10 weeks.”

Caitlin is now in a “minimally conscious” state.

Distinct from a vegetative state or “locked-in syndrome” – where patients cannot move, but are totally cogniscant – she has her eyes open and has some movement with her arms.

Neil, who works in the textiles industry, said: “She’s in a coma, but she’ll track people in the room with her eyes and has reflex behaviours to certain stimuli – if you go to brush her teeth she’ll open her mouth.”

Caitlin with best friend Emily Barker who is fundraising for the family.

Caitlin with best friend Emily Barker who is fundraising for the family.

Caitlin has been treated at King’s Mill Hospital, Sutton, for the past five weeks, where she also works as a neonatal intensive care nurse – and her family have been visiting daily.

Neil said: “She is the kindest, most caring, most considerate friend anyone could have.

“She was a perfect daughter from the day she was born to the day of the accident.

“She was always the life and soul of a group of people, the beating heart, a friend to any one.

Caitlin with god-daughter Ava at Ava's Christening in 2012.

Caitlin with god-daughter Ava at Ava's Christening in 2012.

“To see her in this condition is so painful for me, like she’s gone, but still hanging on to life – as a parent that’s so difficult.”

The family do not know what Caitlin’s potential for recovery is, but have been told the best chances are within the first six months.

And today, Tuesday, February 9, their next struggle begins as Caitlin is moved to a specialist rehabilitation centre in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire – an hour and 45 minutes away.

Neil said: “It’s a whole new nightmare because it’s a 160-mile round trip.”

Emily Barker, Caitlin’s best friend, also 24, has rallied around to help and, after starting a Gofundme appeal just more than week ago, has already raised more than £3,000 to help provide care and equipment when Caitlin returns home.

Emily, an engaged mum-of-three who works at E.On in Nottingham said “amazing” Caitlin continues to fight so hard to get better.

Caitlin pictured with friend Holly Gowler.

Caitlin pictured with friend Holly Gowler.

She said: “She’s fighting and she’s remaining strong. You can see it in her eyes and you can see it in the small steps she’s taking.

“She’s still Caitlin. She’s an amazing friend.

“She’s one in a million. She’s there for you, day or night, for anything you need.

“She loves socialising, she loves her job and helping people and she loves playing with her godchildren.”

“She’s always been fundraising for charities and now is the time the family really need our help.

“I knew there would be a great response because she is loved by so many people. But it’s amazing, the love and the generosity that people have shown. Every penny will go so far.”

Neil said: “To us it means everything. I’d like people to know the money will be used for Caitlin’s care.

“Hopefully she’ll come home and when she does we’ll need specialist equipment.”

He said he has struggled to cope with what happened to his daughter just more than two months ago – and the family are already having to make heartbreaking decisions about the rest of her life.

He said: “The thing that keeps you strong at the end of the day is the rest of the family.

“Shes suffered such a traumatic brain injury, there’s no way of knowing how much improvement she’ll make.

“Caitlin may never come out of this comatose state she’s in.

“The next thing is rehabilitation, which may take years.

“We’re seeing her everyday, we just won’t be able to do that while she’s being treated in Leamington.”

Anyone who can help the family travel to Leamington Spa, is asked to call 07926 120 307.

If you would like to help Caitlin and her family, click here or contact Emily Barker through Facebook.

Comments have poured in online since the appeal went out.

Christine Heath, who made a donation online, said: “We’re all rooting for you Caitlin. Thoughts and love to you and your family.”

Kirsty Bingham said: “Love and miss you so much Caitlin – always thinking about you and your beautiful smile.”