The Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai has pledged to cover the medical bills of a Nottinghamshire girl who fell from a horse – leaving her in a coma with life-threatening head injuries.
Rebecca Chisholm, 24, was working in Dubai as a secondary school teacher when was involved in a serious horse riding accident where she suffered multiple skull fractures and a traumatic brain injury.
Her mum, Wendy Skelton, of East Bridgford, said her insurance did not cover horse riding activities, leaving her with medical bills of more than £60,000.
In what Ms Skelton said was a “momentous day”, she revealed that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had offered to pay all bills until Rebecca is discharged.
Rebecca, who had the accident the day before her birthday on Friday, May 10, is currently recovering in Rashid Hospital.
Ms Skelton told Nottinghamshire Live that as of Thursday May 23, Rebecca had “started to hold conversations”, having “reverted back to a three-year-old” in the days following the accident.
She said: “She’s doing a lot better now, she’s been a bit perkier. But she’s still very, very tired, eating or talking will really wear her out.
“From Thursday she was able to hold a conversation for the first time. It was also then that we were officially able to say he [Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum] would be paying for her medical bills.
“It’s just such a relief as we do not have to worry about that anymore. I’m just so thankful, it’s wonderful. We can focus on getting her back home now.”
However, Ms Skelton, 56, emphasised that Rebecca will have to remain in hospital in Dubai for another three weeks as her situation changes every day.
She also said she would have to have speech therapy when she arrives in the UK, with a specialised medical flight home costing anywhere up to “£45,000”.
A fundraiser set-up on GoFundMe has also reached the target of £60,000, raising a total amount of £64,555 in just five days, which will go towards her medical care for a year after she gets home and the flight.
Ms Skelton added: “She is going to be in hospital for another two to three weeks, every day they have to see how she is doing with CT scans.
“We’ve reached the target but we’ve been told she will have to remain in care for at least a year, she will have to have speech therapy which will be very expensive.”
James Dennis, a former colleague of Ms Skelton, helped with the fundraising efforts.
He said any surplus money will go towards Headway UK, a charity based in Basford, Nottingham, which works to improve the lives of people who have suffered brain injuries.
Mr Dennis, who grew up in Arnold, added: “Things are gradually getting better day by day, but there is still a long way to go on the road to recovery.
“I cannot thank him [Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum] enough. But it has been amazing from everyone who has helped us raise money for Rebecca. It seems she has touched the lives of many.”
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said in a statement issued to the family: “We do not hesitate to help and support the brother, the ill-fated friend or the needy wherever they are.
“This is our message to the world, and this is the United Arab Emirates.”