A care organisation has raised cash to help an inspirational young woman who suffered terrible burns after a coach crash.
Staff, residents and families at Pendine Park, in Wrexham donated £500 to Catrin Pugh, 20, who was trapped in a blazing coach in the French Alps last year.
The caring crew at Pendine organised a series of events to raise funds for Catrin, including a wheelchair walk and BBQ, a quiz night, a family fun day, and a summer fete.
She was given a one in 1,000 chance of pulling through after the smash near the Alpe d’Huez resort left her with 96% burns. She has had skin grafts from her mother, Sara, and brother Robert, and has had over 4,000 staples in her body to hold them in place.
Jen Roberts manager of Pendine Park’s Gwern Alyn care home paid tribute to Catrin’s bravery.
She said: “I think Catrin is amazing. She’s got such a wonderful personality and she’s absolutely gorgeous. She’s come a long way. When she came to our first event in Bersham she had to sit most of the time.
“We’ve raised £500 and it’s been a real team effort from people all across Pendine Park. It’s not just the staff that’s been getting involved but also the residents and their families.
“Catrin’s story has inspired a lot of people, and a lot of people remember hearing about it just after it happened and when they heard we were raising money they wanted to do something to help.
“It really puts life into perspective.”
Catrin, from Rossett, who was put into a medically-induced coma for three months and has undergone more than 200 operations, has battled through and has even started skiing again.
She paid tribute to the people at Pendine Park and the wider community.
She said: “Because of the money people in the community have raised I’ve been able to buy things like an ultrasound machine which is used for one of the treatments for scar therapy. It helps soften the scars and reduce their appearance. It costs hundreds of pounds.
“I’ve started skiing again and I need specially made ski boots, and they’re quite expensive. They need to be the right shape and they need to be comfortable. They cost about £500.
“The bathroom has been converted into a step-in shower so steps or slippery surfaces.”
Catrin added: “I’ve got to know the crew at Pendine Park very well. I’ve been to the quiz night and the family fun day so I got to know them at those events. It’s been really nice to go to them and meet everyone.
“People are still raising money now.”
Catrin, said: “Things are going well and I’m feeling a lot better. It’s been 18 months now since the accident.
“I’m a lot more independent now than I was. I’ve made a lot of progress in the last month. I can now cook certain things for myself, though I still someone to be around just in case I need help with something. I’ve got special utensils that I use and I use pre-prepared veg.
“It’s all stuff I used to take for granted before.
“I feel a lot more energetic because as part of my rehabilitation I’ve been going to the gym and doing a lot of cardio.
“With things like going into town and doing the shopping, now I can walk round for an hour before I need a break, whereas before it was half an hour.
“I’m always very shocked when people raise money for me. These are people who didn’t know who I was before.”
Catrin has come a long way since the crash on April 16 2013.
She said: “I spent eight months in hospital and for three months of that I was in a coma.
“When I got home I couldn’t feed myself on my own, and I couldn’t walk without support.
“I had to wear a special mask all of the time, but now I just wear it at night. It is used to smooth the scars on my skin. I also wear a body suit which does the same thing. It’s a pressure garment, a bit like a wearing a wetsuit but one size too small. It’s really uncomfortable but it has to be tight to push down the scars.
“I lost a lot of muscle mass when I was in the coma, but I’m gaining that back now so I’ll be getting a bigger suit soon. I also had to sleep wearing foot splints, knee splints, elbow splints and hand splints, so I couldn’t move.
“I do physiotherapy four hours a day, four days a week.”
Catrin’s proud mum Sara, added: “She’s making good progress. Initially we didn’t know if she was going to make it through because it was such a big accident, and we’re very grateful that’s she’s got a second chance.
“She’s had a lot of people supporting her. I think her story has touched people and that’s why they wanted to do something to help.”