Paris terror attacks cut short teenage carer’s first trip abroad

Nicola Crowther and her daughter Kaitlyn, whose first trip abroad was interrupted by the Paris terror attacks.

Nicola Crowther and her daughter Kaitlyn, whose first trip abroad was interrupted by the Paris terror attacks.

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Kaitlyn Crowther’s first trip abroad turned into a nightmare as she was caught up in the Paris terrorist attacks.

The Hartlepool 13-year-old was given a trip to Disneyland Paris as a treat, and as a break from caring for her poorly mum Nicola, 37, who has a rare disease.

Nicola is relieved Kaitlyn and her travelling pals were too tired to go out into Paris.

Nicola is relieved Kaitlyn and her travelling pals were too tired to go out into Paris.

But within hours of arriving, France was hit by the terror attacks in which 130 people were killed.

Instead of getting to enjoy the city of lights, Kaitlyn and all her travelling colleagues were told to stay in their hotel. The next day, they made plans to come home.

And all this happened to a girl who had overcome OCD and panic attacks to go abroad for the first time, said Nicola.

It happened to a girl whose daily routine is one of helping her mum by running baths, cleaning, vacuuming, helping with cooking and getting her young brother Alfie ready for school.

It was Kaitlyn’s first time out of the country. She gets panic attacks and going there was a big deal for her. And then this happens

Nicola Crowther

Kaitlyn’s story is so inspirational, she won this year’s Best of Hartlepool Carer of the year Award.

But unbeknown to Kaitlyn, Nicola was having her own personal nightmare back at home. As she tried to open the blinds, she fell and dislocated her hip.

She did it while she was on a short stay in a log cabin near Hull. It had been organised as a treat for her other child, nine-year-old Alfie Turner.

When she found out Kaitlyn was on her way home, Nicola braved excruciating pain to get back to her home in Wingfield Close in Hartlepool for her daughter - even putting her dislocated hip back into place herself.

Mum and daughter re-told their incredible experience and described how it could have been even worse for Kaitlyn.

Nicola explained: “They were due to go into the heart of Paris on the Friday night, but they had been too tired to go. That bit of news was a godsend.

“On the Saturday, they were told not to go to Disneyland and to stay in their hotel and wait for further information.”

The first Nicola knew of it all was when a friend rang her and said: “Have you been watching the news?”

“I put the TV on and it was the first I’d heard of it,” said Nicola, who suffers from Gaucher’s Disease which affects her bones and parts of her brain.

She was told by doctors she probably would not live beyond 30 after battling the type 3 form of the illness, which affects every one of her internal organs except her heart.

But Nicola is still bravely fighting the condition at 37 and gets invaluable help around their home from Kaitlyn.

Nicola added: “It was Kaitlyn’s first time out of the country. She gets panic attacks and going there was a big deal for her. And then this happens.

“Kaitlyn was messaging me and panicking, saying she didn’t want to go to sleep, saying she loved all of us. She was frightened and she was past herself.”

Nicola was communicating with her daughter while she was having her own nightmare at the log cabin.

“I was rolling the blinds up and stood on the bed, and I fell. It was agony, but it had dislocated before and I put it back in myself.”

She said she was in agony as she drove home with her partner David Turner, 48. “I knew she was coming home and I wanted to be there.”

Eventually, Nicola was treated at the University Hospital of North Tees and has been told to rest.

Kaitlyn’s trip, which started on the Thursday, was over when she got back to Hartlepool at 1am on the Monday after the terror attacks.

Today, Nicola paid tribute to the fellow members of Kaitlyn’s travelling group for looking after her daughter and reassuring her.