A DEVASTATING accident has left a Scottish family heartbroken and in desperate need of support to cover medical costs.
Gabrielle Dareau and her three-year-old daughter, Licia, were involved in a freak tractor accident which killed Licia and left Ms Dareau paralysed after breaking her neck.
“It was not possible to comprehend that an accident which only took a few seconds could turn our lives upside down,” said Ms Dareau’s sister, Camille [Dareau].
The Dareau sisters grew up in Howgate, near Peeblesshire in the Borders, before emigrating to France.
Ms Dareau’s daughter was due to celebrate her fourth birthday the week following the accident, but instead her family were having to arrange her funeral and care for her mother.
“For many weeks after the accident we were all in a state of shock,” said Camille.
“It felt like an impossible task at the time, but we had to somehow organise the funeral for Licia.
“My mum and I felt a responsibility to make the funeral a celebration of Licia’s life, yet on one level it would always be too soon for that.
“How is it possible to accept that the same month we were going to celebrate her fourth birthday, her body was being buried?
“For us the horror was only bearable because we were able to allow that she had a different soul path, and in that dimension she chose to go.
“This feeling has been validated by the enormity of the love and support which her passing has inspired.
“Everyone came together with such empathy and genuine compassion it reminded me what people are capable of.”
Since Licia’s funeral, the family have come together to focus on Ms Dareau’s recovery.
When she was first taken to hospital, Ms Dareau, who is an author and runs Happy Horse Training with her sister, was told she would remain quadriplegic, with the potential of regaining the use of one of her arms in the future.
Despite this prognosis, her family have remained positive that she will walk again and return to riding her horses.
Camille said: “After Gabrielle underwent five hours of emergency surgery, the doctor’s prognosis was that she would remain quadriplegic, and possibly regain the use of one arm. She was on a ventilator and could not breathe or swallow on her own.
“They said she would have to undergo a tracheotomy operation that would most likely be permanent.
“Miraculously after a few weeks the respiration tube was removed and she was able to breathe and eat without the machines.
“As a family we have always been deeply engaged in alternative medicine, and as well as nutritional supplements I had been giving her Craniosacral Therapy and energetic healing every day since the accident.”
Since receiving hospital treatment, Ms Dareau has been moved to a re-education clinic, but the family believe that understaffing and lack of equipment at this facility will do more harm than good for her recovery.
With this in mind, Camille sought out alternative facilities, and was referred to the Marienia Clinic in Cambo-les-Bains, near the Pyrenees. The family are awaiting a decision on Ms Dareau’s place there.
To cover the costs of the clinic, Camille created a fundraiser, hoping to raise €10,000 (£8,977.80). At the time of publication, the family have raised €10,081.
“I realised that the new clinic would have extra costs that would not be covered by her health insurance,” said Camille.
“It is a modern centre with the latest equipment for rehabilitating the kind of spinal paralysis Gabrielle is experiencing.
“As well as the extra costs of the clinic, I have put my work on hold so I can work with Gabrielle and visit her most days, as well as helping to look after her 13 horses.”
The sisters hope the Borders community will offer their support to Ms Dareau’s recovery.
Camille said: “We originally moved to France to be able to work with the horses in an easier climate.
“We feel that we have so much more to contribute to the horse community, and Gabrielle’s recovery is part of this journey.
“We love living in France, but Scotland will always be our home.
“That is why I am appealing to the Border community for their help – I know they will help Gabrielle to walk and ride horses again.”
For more information, visit this fundraising website.