Crash victim’s challenge

Laura Christopherson
Laura Christopherson

THE victim of an horrific bus crash in the Australian outback is gearing up for a marathon to raise money for cancer, a disease which her mother narrowly survived.

Laura Christopherson, 20, of Quainton, will be taking part in the 26-mile long London Marathon for Cancer Research UK next year despite the fact she is still recovering from severe spinal injuries.

Last February Laura, while on her gap year from Newcastle University, was involved in an horrific bus crash while back-packing in a remote area near Alice Springs.

As a result she suffered multiple broken bones, several back fractures and deep cuts across her lower back.

Several operations were needed to remove glass and debris from her back and it took 14 months of physiotherapy to get Laura back on her feet, although her treatment is on-going.

It is thought that Laura may have saved many lives through a tracking device she had which she set off following the crash which helped emergency services to locate the site as the bus satellite phone was broken.

Through picking up her emergency signal, Laura’s parents were able to pinpoint where she was within minutes and her dad, James, telephoned police in the nearest town to alert them to the emergency.

“We were in the middle of nowhere and one man was trapped under the bus,” she added.

“I believe that tracking device saved our lives.”

The location was so remote, only two vehicles passed in 10 hours.

Police reports said 19 people were involved and three – including Laura – needed intensive care.

The accident made national news at home and abroad but the identity of the passenger who set off the device was never revealed.

Prior to the accident, Laura’s 47-year-old mum Susie was diagnosed with non Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008 after a growth the size of an orange was found in her chest cavity.

“We were told if they had not found the cancer when they did, mum would have been dead within a few months,” said Laura.

“She was given a new wonder drug called rituximab – I believe that this is what saved her life and now I want to give something back to those who helped her.

“To see my mum suddenly struck down by cancer made me realise how short life can be. I talked about taking opportunities when you can and the importance of staying positive and not taking life for granted.”

To sponsor Laura, who aims to raise £4,000 for the fight against cancer, visit www.runningsponsorme.org/laurachristopherson