Thirsk crash survivor Sarah: “I remember I went to wipe my nose and it lifted off my face”

A woman from Thirsk has described the moment her legs were straightened at the roadside following a head-on collision as the worst and most painful experience of her life.

Sarah Richardson-Kane had gone out to buy ingredients to prepare dinner for her family when she was involved in a crash on the A167 between Thirsk and Northallerton.

Sarah said: “I’d came home from work to make my tea and forgot that I needed breadcrumbs to make the fishcakes, so I decided to go over to mums to grab some as she only lives a few minutes away in the next village.”

The next thing the 31-year-old remembers is waking up in the front of her car with the fire service cutting the roof off.

Sarah said: “I remember my mum saying, ‘you’ve been in an accident, just keep calm and don’t touch your legs’.

“I immediately touched my legs, and I could feel huge dints in my thighs, and I couldn’t move my feet.”

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) arrived on scene and gave Sarah advanced critical care at the roadside including strong pain relief, before airlifting her to James Cook University Hospital where she stayed for over two weeks.

The mother of two said: “I remember the doctor saying we’re going to have to straighten your legs now. It was the worst and most painful experience of my life.

“I have had kids with no pain relief and that was worse even with all of the drugs they gave me.”

Sarah suffered two femur fractures and had pins and rods in both legs from her hips to her knees as well as a broken nose.

Sarah said: “My nose was cut underneath, so it had to be stuck back together.

“I remember I went to wipe my nose and it lifted off my face. My husband passed out when they glued it.”

On waking up in hospital, Sarah recalls how bad her pain was and that she had what she describes as scaffolding holding her together.

Sarah said: “It took me the best part of a year to walk again, and I still say now that I waddle and look like a penguin.”

This year, Sarah is taking part in the Great North Run for GNAAS. Ten years after her accident, she says that she is marking the anniversary with this challenge and will then be moving on with her life.

She added: “I still think about the accident quite a lot, especially in certain situations like when my little boy asks to play football and I can’t.

“My outlook on life and death has changed. I don’t fear death anymore and I believe in making every day count.”

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