A former model who fought her way back from a horror car crash has been left homeless after her release from hospital.
Jodie Regazzoli (23), from Balbriggan, spent two months in a coma and was given just a 3% chance of survival after she sustained traumatic injuries.
She was flung into the air and crashed through the windscreen of a car that struck her as she got off a bus on her way to work at River Island in the Pavilions Shopping Centre in Swords in April, 2018.
The plucky former Miss Ireland contestant defied medics who warned she would never walk or talk again and left hospital seven months later.
But now Jodie, who was left jobless and without a roof over her head, is sleeping in hotels or on friends’ couches despite suffering post-traumatic stress and needing further surgery.
She said: “My long-term goal is to get a home and have somewhere to recover. If I don’t intensively recover now, what’s going to happen to me in a few years?
“It’s hard to have to depend on others, because before the accident I was such a strong, independent person.”
Jodie spoke of her plight as she attended the annual Honour Your Heroes Day at Beaumont Hospital last week.
In spite of her troubles, she took time out to say ‘thank you’ to the medical team who saved her life.
She said: “I could do nothing for myself when I came round from the coma. I remember the doctors saying to me that I wouldn’t be able to sit up for another two years.
“I was in a wheelchair and had to be hoisted in and out of bed. I couldn’t even lift my arms up. Part of my skull had to be removed to ease swelling on the brain.”
Jodie made a remarkable recovery and left Beaumont for the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, where she spent a further three months.
She continues with her rehabilitation, but requires a knee and hip replacement and has a weakness down one side of her body.
Thanking healthcare assistant Natasha Moran, and all the staff of Richmond ICU, she said: “Natasha was a friend and like a mammy to me. She always took the time to come and talk to me and she was the only person I would allow to shower and care for me.”
Jodie says she has been denied medical priority from Fingal County Council even though they have a list of her physical and brain injuries.
The council said it does not comment on specific cases, but the local authority made “every effort” to support housing applicants.