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LONG RECOVERY

Desiree Gallagher’s wish to leave hospital for Christmas was granted

Dale Carruthers

By Dale Carruthers, The London Free Press

Desiree Gallagher after the fall

Desiree Gallagher after the fall

All Desiree Gallagher wants is to go home for Christmas.

The once-lively 22-year-old has been in the hospital since May 24 after plunging from the seventh-floor balcony of a London apartment building.

For months, Gallagher had been asking her mother, Susan Gerth, if she could return home to be with family, friends and her beloved pets for Christmas.

Doctors allowed Gerth to take her daughter home just for the holidays.

“She’s a lot of work but she’s well worth it,” said Gerth, who will provide around-the-clock care for her wheelchair-bound daughter.

The fall left Gallagher with 14 screws holding her spine together, a portion of her skull removed to relieve swelling of her brain. She’s partially blind and has lost her short-term memory.

Gallagher’s temporary homecoming will be bittersweet for her family as they struggle with their new reality, Gerth said.

“It’s hard to even know what to get her for Christmas,” Gerth said. “I used to get her gift certificates so she could go shopping. What do you get her?”

Gallagher’s once-promising life changed forever on a sunny Saturday morning seven months ago when she was at the Talbot St. apartment of Justin Primmer, a convicted killed who served five years in jail for stabbing a Stratford man to death 10 years ago.

Gallagher was assaulted before she fell from the balcony, police said.

Primmer, 29, was charged with assault causing bodily harm after police seized a cellphone containing photographs of Gallagher’s badly beaten face from Primmer’s apartment. He pleaded guilty and was given a six-month sentence.

Gallagher’s family was outraged when Primmer walked from jail a free man on Oct. 21, while Gallagher may never walk again.

Still facing a long road to recovery, doctors don’t know when Gallagher will be released. She’ll require 24-hour care once released, Gerth said.

“It’s been a horrible, horrible, horrible year.”

dale.carruthers@sunmedia.ca

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