04 November 2005

Hit-and-run victim (14) on the mend

Belfast Telegraph

Joy as brave Nicole speaks at last

By Brian Hutton
04 November 2005

The Belfast schoolgirl left fighting for her life by a hit-and-run driver has regained consciousness, her mother said today.

But talented dancer Nicole Grieve (14) still can't walk unaided since she was struck by a van on the Stewartstown Road in the west of the city a month ago.

The St Genevieve's High School pupil's mother Sharon said today she is making progress but still had a fight ahead of her.

She added: "Nicole has only begun talking again. She was writing things down before that. That was her way of communicating.

"The physiotherapists are in with her every morning and trying to get her walking again. But she is still very wobbly.

"She is still having problems with her short-term memory, although her long-term memory is fine.

"She sat on the edge of the bed the other day and retraced all her dancing steps on the floor.

"She got back into bed and said, 'Mummy, I remember all my steps'. Then she started naming them all. It's a miracle."

Nicole had been practising nightly for last week's Ulster Dancing Championships before she was left struggling for survival in intensive care.

"Her teacher came in to hospital to give her the two medals her team won," said Sharon.

"Nicole asked why she was getting them. Her teacher said the team were devastated and went into the competition very downhearted.

"But they went in doing it for Nicole and came out with three champions and two medals in the team events that she was supposed to be in.

"She said Nicole was with them throughout."

The teenager has been moved from the intensive care unit of Royal Victoria Hospital to a normal ward.

The plight of the young dancer has drawn support from well-wishers across the globe on Irish dancing discussion forums on the internet.

A message on one website reads: "God bless you Nicole, Sharon and the whole family.

"Take some comfort from knowing the Irish dancing community throughout the whole of the world are thinking and praying for you after reading about this tragedy."

The moderator of the website contacted the Belfast Telegraph desperate for an update on Nicole's progress.

"Please would it be possible for you to pass on our prayers and let the family know that the world of Irish dancing - as far away as the USA and Australia are thinking about them, and if possible could we have an update on how she is doing," she said.

Nicole's father Michael said the family have been overwhelmed by the prayers and support.

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