A 25-year-old Londoner has told the story of a horrific car crash in which she was the sole survivor - and her road to recovery since.

Three months after moving to London to start her career as part of British Airways cabin crew, Lauren was a passenger in a devastating car crash on New Year’s Eve 2019.

The car she was in collided with an articulated lorry just before midnight.

Given the severity of the incident and potential casualties, London's Air Ambulance Charity swiftly dispatched one of their four advanced trauma teams on standby.

When the medical team arrived at the crash site, other emergency services were already in assistance.

East London Advertiser: The 25-year-old had just moved to London to start her career with British Airways when she was involved in the car crashThe 25-year-old had just moved to London to start her career with British Airways when she was involved in the car crash (Image: London's Air Ambulance Charity)

Lauren had been removed from the car by the London Fire Brigade (LFB) and London Ambulance Service (LAS) paramedics.

This was done quickly as Lauren's heart had stopped beating, and she then required urgent CPR.

After eight minutes, the paramedics successfully restarted her heart, with the London Air Ambulance crew arriving just as this happened.

Lauren was critically unwell and required immediate advanced interventions.

She was suspected to have a severe traumatic brain injury, broken ribs, collapsed lungs, internal abdomen bleeding, and broken bones present in both her left arm and right leg.

Working closely with the paramedics, the trauma team placed Lauren on a stretcher, fitting her with a pelvic binder and starting a blood transfusion.

To manage her breathing, Lauren was placed in an induced coma and surgical procedures were carried out on both sides of her chest to release trapped air in her lungs, allowing them to inflate fully.

East London Advertiser: Her parents were told she had ‘life-threatening’ and ‘life-altering' injuriesHer parents were told she had ‘life-threatening’ and ‘life-altering' injuries (Image: London's Air Ambulance Charity)

On the way to the nearest major trauma centre, Lauren received medication to ease pressure on her brain, as her pupils were not reacting.

Meanwhile, her parents in Glasgow were informed by the police of their daughter's injuries.

Pauline, Lauren’s mum, said: "We were told the words ‘life-threatening’ and ‘life-altering injuries’. Those words stuck with us as we made the journey to London to be by her side."

Following the accident, Lauren was in a coma for an entire month before she was slowly awakened.

READ MORE: Walk for London Air Ambulance from victim of Crystal Palace crash

Pauline said: "We were told the full extent of the brain injury would not be known until much later.

"But we were convinced Lauren would fight.

"And fight she did, to breathe, to move a toe, to open one eye, to smile."

Lauren said: "I have no memory of the accident."

"So when I woke up, not only did my parents have to explain what had happened and the fact that my life had changed forever, they had to tell me that my close friend had died.

"I can’t imagine what that would have been like for them."

East London Advertiser: Lauren has since visited the London Air Ambulance helipadLauren has since visited the London Air Ambulance helipad (Image: London's Air Ambulance Charity)

Lauren began a long road to recovery, spending the next five months in hospital during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Luckily, I had a window, so mum and dad could visit me and pass through my requested sweets, but it was hard to deal with, not having visitors," she said.

"I never saw another option but to just get through it.

"There’s never been a point in the last four years where I haven’t just got on with it – because what else can I do."

Following her hospital stay, Lauren moved back with her parents for two years, undergoing intensive neuro, occupational and musculoskeletal therapy.

Lauren said: "That was hard, I needed a lot of assistance, physio in particular, however together and slowly, we managed to get me back to being able to live a life that was similar to the one before.

"A different life, but a recognisable one."

East London Advertiser: She has taken up swimming and run a 5k since her accident - and her next goal is a duathlonShe has taken up swimming and run a 5k since her accident - and her next goal is a duathlon (Image: London's Air Ambulance Charity)

Now, Lauren lives independently and has made remarkable progress, thanks to her strong will and determination.

She volunteers at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow – where she was treated – twice a week and works part-time as a receptionist at a sports injury clinic.

She has taken up swimming again – an old passion, which she was not only able to continue but also compete in.

Lauren said: "After the original prognosis my parents received, it’s unreal that I am here today planning my next goal.

"It is thanks to London’s Air Ambulance Charity – I genuinely wouldn’t be here without them.

"I don’t think there’s a charity out there that deserves people’s support more – they really do just save lives, lives like mine."

Pauline said: "This accident changed Lauren’s life forever, however we are all too aware that Lauren’s friends and colleagues were not as fortunate and the same heroes who contributed to our future also had to experience the trauma of three young people and their families having their future taken away.

"Regardless, we are forever indebted to everyone there on that night, who did everything they could to care for all four of the young people involved."

Newsquest London appeal

London Air Ambulance medics perform life-saving treatment for patients who are critically injured with life-threatening or life-changing injuries. But the charity is up against time to replace its fleet of helicopters by next year and needs your support. Click here to donate to the appeal.