Like many young women her age, Lynsey Cribbin loves nothing more than spoiling herself on a shopping spree.
However, a simple trip to buy new clothes has been impossible for the past 18 months ever since the 22-year-old, who had been in perfect health, inexplicably suffered multiple strokes which have left her unable to talk or move since.
But now the bubbly Cavan girl, who has an extreme case of locked-in syndrome and relies on blinking to communicate, can finally look forward to a long-awaited trip to her favourite boutiques after taking delivery of a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.
Non-stop fundraising efforts by her parents, Peter and Catherine, helped raise the €35,000 needed for a customised Renault Master van, which was delivered to their home in Finea on Thurday. Lynsey’s father said the vehicle will transform his daughter’s life, as it will allow her to leave the confines of hospitals and the family home.
Peter said his daughter, who returned home for the first time last month , after a lengthy stay in the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, is determined to live as independent a life as possible. Despite her severe paraylysis, she still has a perfectly functioning brain. And tech-savvy Lynsey’s quality of life has been further enhanced by a sophisticated, HSE-funded computer, which allows her to communicate instantly through an in-built camera which tracks where her eyes are looking and allows her to move the mouse pointer around to form words.
Despite still needing constant care, she made huge progress in rehab and can now smile, laugh, and eat minced food — something her parents never believed they would see a year ago.
This Friday, Lynsey will be escorted in her new vehicle to The Imperial Bar in Cavan, where she is judging the Got To Dance charity event.
But, for now, her main focus is treating herself to a new wardrobe when she makes her much longed-for shopping trip.
Peter said: “She’s absolutely chuffed at getting the van. It’ll make such a difference to her life.
“She’s a shopaholic. Up to now she’s been able to shop online, but it will be a dream for her to have a day out looking around the shops.
“She’s making fantastic progress and it’s such a big boost to her and to us to have her back at home and now able to get around.”