SHE was dynamic, kind-hearted and had the world at her feet. Diane Craig was newly engaged and saving for a flat with her fiancé.
But on the morning of Saturday, October 29 last year, the 19-year-old’s life changed forever, all down to one foolish decision she made.
After walking out on to the road between two buses, Diane was hit by a van at Kaimes Crossroad, on Howdenhall Road, and has been left with permanent brain damage.
Her parents are living in limbo as to whether their “bright, beautiful and kind” daughter will ever recover or whether she will always need around-the-clock care.
Diane has been faced with learning to walk and talk again from scratch, and is currently suffering from short-term memory loss, after her frontal lobe was badly damaged in the accident.
Today, her mum, Elizabeth, 40, known to most as Beth, bravely spoke out in a bid to raise awareness for others to be “extra careful” when they are crossing the road, as she believes it could have happened to anyone.
Speaking at the family’s Mortonhall home, Beth told how Diane was on her way to work at Sainsbury’s in Straiton when a car hit her as she crossed the road to catch her bus.
She said: “She was running late and could see her bus coming but she must have forgot to look the other way.
“I remember getting a knock at the door and it was the police. I couldn’t believe it when they said it was Diane. I was just numb.
“They took me down to the Royal Infirmary and by the time we got there she had already been put into a coma.
“They knew right away that it was serious so they put her straight in an ambulance with a police escort and on to the Western General – where the brain specialists are.
“They didn’t expect her to make it through the night but somehow she did.”
She added: “She was foolish to walk out but it’s something we all do at some point in our lives.
“If one person thinks about Diane’s story and doesn’t do what she did, that’s what makes reliving the nightmare worth going over again. We’ve been to hell and back.”
Diane, a former pupil of Gracemount High School, received treatment at the city’s Western General until a week before Christmas, when she was moved to the Astley Ainsley Hospital – where she remains in recovery today.
Her parents, Beth and Glenn, 50, visit her on a daily basis, and her little sister Libby, 15, does all she can to keep her sister smiling.
At the moment, the family remains unsure when Diane will be released from hospital but they are beginning to make preparations around the house in the hope it will be soon.
Before her accident, Diane had recently finished a musical theatre course at Edinburgh College and had taken up a job at Sainsbury’s cafe to help her save for a flat.
She enjoyed nothing more than helping out in the community, and regularly went to church groups at the Liberton and Tron Kirks.
Beth said: “When she arrived at the Astley Ainsley rehab centre she couldn’t walk, she couldn’t talk, she could barely do anything to be honest.
“She’s come on a lot in the last three months. We’ve got her talking now, she’s relearned how to walk and amazingly she can read.
“At one point, the doctors actually told us Diane would never be able to walk again. So far, she’s proved everyone wrong, at every stage.
“It’s hard work because it’s like teaching a child, I can’t just go in and visit her peacefully anymore, I’m always trying to help her with her English and her maths. The more we can do the better.
“Diane is such a delight to be around, she just smiles and laughs, but she doesn’t really understand what is happening.
“For instance, if you said to her get dressed, she would put her clothes over her pyjamas – she doesn’t understand things anymore. Even going to the toilet. But if you break everything down for her, step by step, she will be able to do it.
“Physically, to look at, she’s amazing, you wouldn’t know there is anything wrong with her until she starts speaking to you.
“It’s devastating how my family’s life has been destroyed within a matter of seconds. The way it stands at the moment, nothing will ever be the same again.
“We are constantly living in the unknown, all we can do is hope. She’s a walking miracle.”
This week, Beth has returned to work and has said the hospital is trying to prepare Diane to face the public again.
Shortly after she was admitted to hospital, her neighbours rallied together and created a Crowdfunding Page to help the family out with additional costs.
Beth said: “We know her brain will never heal but Diane is learning to work around the injury.
“We got to a point where we were out of cash, we had to buy her a new wardrobe because she couldn’t wear any tight clothes in hospital or anything. Costs came from everywhere that we just weren’t expecting.
“We hope it won’t get to the stage we need to adapt anything in the house dramatically for her return but that might be the case, so at least we will have some money there.
“We want to keep it for Diane getting home and then we will decide what to do with it. We can’t thank everyone enough that has helped. The doctors and nurses have been fantastic.”
Beth hopes Diane’s story will encourage other teenagers and adults to always cross the road safely.
She said: “I believe I did everything I could, teaching my girls about the Green Cross Code and always crossing at the green man.
“It’s hard because Diane did wrong. Many people are reassuring and say it was just a mistake and that we’ve all done it but others aren’t that kind.
“I don’t want anyone else going through what we have, if someone else gets off a bus in a similar situation I would encourage them to always walk that extra two minutes to reach a crossing because it could save their life.”
To donate to Diane’s GoFundMe page visit: https://www.gofundme.com/dm-dianes-fund