A British woman fighting for her life after being thrown off a horse in Dubai is stranded there until her medical bills are paid off, a devastated family friend has claimed.
Rebecca (Becca) Chisholm’s loved ones are trying to raise tens of thousands of pounds to cover the cost of her treatment in hospital and a medical flight back to England for specialist care.
The 24-year-old, who remains in intensive care with her mother Wendy Skelton by her side, is facing a £60,000 medical bill that increases every day, and a flight that will cost an estimated £30,000, the friend says.
The primary school teacher, who lives and works in the Middle Eastern emirate, suffered multiple skull fractures and a traumatic brain injury in the horrific accident a day before her birthday.
As she lay severely injured she told her mother that she was going to die and she loved her, and then spent three days in a coma as doctors battled to save her life.
Ms Chisholm, from Nottingham, was airlifted to a state-run hospital and twice underwent surgery to stem the bleed on her brain and relieve the pressure, according to a GoFundMe page set up by family friend Liudmila Davey.
The page had raised more than £23,000 in just 24 hours with an initial goal of £30,000.
Ms Chisholm cannot leave the United Arab Emirates until her medical bills have been paid, the GoFundMe page says.
She has insurance through the school she works at but the insurance firm refused to cover the cost of her medical bills because she was injured while riding a horse, Ms Davey told Mirror Online.
She said of the mother and daughter: “They are very lovely people. Wendy is a very kind person. We are so grateful for everyone’s support.”
The GoFundMe page said Ms Chisholm began to regain consciousness on May 12 but was still in danger and faces a lengthy recovery and uncertain future once she is back home in England.
Her distraught mother – an accounts technician who flew to Dubai for her daughter’s 24th birthday – has been by her side in hospital.
Her holiday has run out and she is now on compassionate leave from work, said Ms Davey.
Ms Skelton said in a message to her supporters on the GoFundMe page: “You are all amazing! I am never going to be able to thank you all enough!”
The page said Ms Skelton has raised her daughter alone since Rebecca’s father died eight years ago.
Ms Chisholm studied at Manchester Metropolitan University and last August moved abroad and signed a two-year contract to teach at a school in Dubai.
The GoFundMe page says: “Working as a PA and retraining as an accounts technician, Wendy has never lived an extravagant lifestyle and rarely had holidays but the chance to have the holiday of a lifetime visiting her only child and to celebrate her 24th birthday in Dubai was a chance not to be missed.
“Wendy flew out to Dubai on 3rd May and the pair were having a fabulous time catching up and seeing the sights.
“Then on Friday 10th May they went horse riding. Becca’s horse bolted and she was thrown violently from the horse.
“She landed badly and sustaining serious head injuries. Wendy found her unconscious.
“When Becca regained consciousness she told Wendy that she was dying and that she loved her.
“Wendy told her she was not leaving her and kept talking to her until the ambulance arrived to initiate the treatment.
“She was then airlifted to Rashid Hospital where scans revealed multiple skull fractures at the base of her skull and a brain haemorrhage.
“Becca was in a coma in intensive care for three days in critical condition.
“She underwent emergency surgery on two separate occasions to stem the bleed on her brain and relieve the pressure.”
The page adds: “Her treatment are very expensive and medical air transport back to the UK will need to be arranged.
“The bills are now mounting and whilst the medical staff are now talking about releasing Becca for a specialised flight back to a UK hospital for continued care, Wendy will not be allowed to leave Dubai until the full bill has been paid.”
Ms Davey told Mirror Online that Ms Skelton has appealed for help from the British Embassy, and is due to meet an official soon.
Ms Davey wrote that the mother and daughter are “now stranded in a desperate state, thousands of miles from home”.
She added: “Let’s not forget, Becca went to Dubai to teach the next generation of children out there and likely to take years to recover from this traumatic brain injury. We don’t even know if she’ll ever be able to teach again.
“Wendy doesn’t own her own property and does not have savings to cover this and also can’t bear to be separated from her beloved daughter.
“All her friends are rallying around but we are struggling to raise the funds needed to cover the rising costs. These are mounting by thousands of pounds every day.”
In an update on Sunday, Ms Davey said Ms Skelton had met with the “wonderful” medical team at Rashid Hospital and it appears Ms Chisholm will remain in the intensive care unit for two more days before she is moved to a ward for a week.
If she remains stable she is likely to then be discharged for medical evacuation to the UK.
Click here for more information on the GoFundMe campaign.