A woman who was left with life-changing injuries when a car hit her as she was enjoying breakfast with her family while holidaying in Spain has said she is “grateful” she is alive.
Harriet Moxon was sitting at an outdoor table at a cafe in Fuerteventura, the Canary Islands, with her husband, Luke, and their two young children on Thursday (31 August) when tragedy struck.
Luke and Ellis, age 7, had gone to the bathroom, but Harriet and Eve, age 5, were still sitting at the table when a car suddenly veered off the road and ploughed into the area where they were. Acting on motherly instinct, Harriet managed to push Eve out of the path of the vehicle, but her brave act meant she was hit by the car herself. She’s now been left with a severely damaged liver and a life-altering spinal injury, and she’s also had to have her spleen removed.
She has been in hospital ever since the incident, and speaking to NationalWorld from her hospital bed she said she was grateful to be alive. She said: “Sadly, I remember it all. It’s causing me a lot of stress, during the night time I’m not sleeping very well. It was a normal holiday morning.
She became emotional when reliving the moment of the crash, saying: “I was minding my own business when I heard a revving noise and looked up to see a car travelling directly towards my daughter. I did what any normal person would do, which is stand up and shove her out of the way. It’s an instinct, you just do it. It isn’t a thought process, it’s an automatic response.”
“Then, I just felt this enormous impact and I was launched across the cafe. I landed against a brick wall and a metal railing. It felt like a lifetime before anybody arrived to help me. The last thing I remember was being stretchered up by what I’m now told was the air ambulance.” She added: “I am living an absolute nightmare, but I am truly grateful to be alive and happy that I’ll get to see my babies grow.”
‘I spend most of my day crying’
Harriet and her family are regular visitors to Fuerteventura, and have been holidaying there for the last 15 years as Luke’s mother owns a property in the area. They knew the cafe well, but had never had breakfast there until that day.
According to local news reports, the car was rented and being driven by an English tourist. The reason for the crash is yet unknown and an investigation is on-going. The car ran over several people and injured a total of eight. Among those injured also included a four-month-old baby, two women aged 18 and 49, and two men aged 40 and 43.
Harriet, aged 34, was airlifted to hospital and underwent several emergency surgeries. She was also placed in intensive care and put on a life support machine. She also had to be given various life saving medications. Her daughter Eve was miraculously unharmed and is now being looked after by her father and grandmother, along with her brother Ellis.
News of the accident reached Harriet’s identical twin sister, Charlotte Ridgeon, in the UK hours after it had taken place. She got to her sister’s bedside as soon as possible, and flew out to Spain at 6am on Friday morning (1 September).
Since she arrived, she has stayed with her twin sister in the hospital and has also begun a fundraising campaign to get the funds needed to bring Harriet back to her home in Pinner, Middlesex, London, so that she can begin treatment in a specialised spinal rehab unit.
The total amount needed is £55,000 - and at the time of writing more than £43,000 has already been raised. Harriet said she thought it was “amazing” that so much money had been donated. She added: “I’m completely overwhelmed. I spend most of my day crying, whether that’s due to drug comedowns or just being overwhelmed from the injury or overwhelmed from the support.”
Harriet again became emotional when explaining how much it meant to her to have Charlotte by her side. “There’s no bond like a twin bond, it’s a very special sibling relationship. I have no words to describe how it felt [to see her]. She doesn’t have to be here. I couldn’t do it without her. We’re one of the same person.”
‘I just want a cuddle from my mum’
Harriet, who has been an NHS nurse for more than 10 years, praised the health professionals who are looking after her in the hospital in Gran Canaria, but said she is finding the language barrier tricky and just wants to be at home.
She said: “I cannot fault the care, they’ve been incredible, but I know the system and the system over here is very different. I’m so used to being the nurse and it’s very difficult to accept being the patient.”
Harriet and Luke are also parents to Harley, 16, Heston, 13 and Callum, 13. The mum added: “I want to be somewhere familiar with my family and my friends and to be surrounded by people that I love. I want to see my kids, which is super important for me, and to just be in an English speaking hospital. I just want a cuddle from my mum. I want to get my rehab so I can get back to being the best version that I can be in the new version of me, while mourning the old version of myself.”
Harriet’s sister Charlotte, who is also a medic, told NationalWorld: “It’s been a living nightmare. But, Harriet is recovering slowly and making good progress. She’s managing to have some water and eat some food and isn’t on as many medications. But, she’ll need months and months of spinal rehabilitation.
She added that the family is going through many emotions, but their love for each other is keeping each other going. “Harriet and I are inseparable. My comment to my husband when I found out what happened was ‘I came into the world with her, I’m not going to leave her on her own’. It was horrendous. I wanted to be there instantly and I couldn’t be. Sitting on that flight, with everyone going on their holiday, was awful. It’s all been very emotional.
“We take a step forward every day. We are having a rollercoaster of emotions, but to have gone through something so traumatic and be in an environment that’s so unfamiliar that’s more than expected. Harriet’s always been incredibly strong minded and determined, and I think she’ll make an amazing recovery with the right support - but that needs to be at home, surrounded by her friends, family, her husband and her children.”
If you would like to help and donate, you can visit the ‘Help Get Harriet Home’ GoFundMe page.