'Miracle she's alive': Brit teenager gored by bison and paralysed on second day of US trip

5 August 2022, 07:08 | Updated: 5 August 2022, 07:14

Amelia's family wants to raise £140,000 for her treatment
Amelia's family wants to raise £140,000 for her treatment. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

A British teenager has been gored by a bison and left unable to walk during a trip to the US.

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Amelia Dean was charged by the enormous animal during a hike in South Dakota, which ripped into her thigh with its horn and sent her flying 15 feet into the air before her friend rescued her.

Her family said the 19-year-old was lucky to still be alive today as they seek to raise £140,000 to send her to a clinic that will give her the best shot of regaining movement in her foot and cover medical costs her travel insurance won't cover.

"It is a miracle that she is alive today. We believe that God put a veil of protection over Mia," her family wrote on her GoFundMe page.

Amelia, nicknamed Mia, has been accepted to Edinburgh University and planned to start in September after a year out. She was coming towards the end of her gap year when the attack happened.

Her family said she was hiking with a friend and his wolf-dog on June 16, what was meant to be the second day of a month-long road trip across the US.

Amelia was gored by a bison
Amelia was gored by a bison. Picture: GoFundMe

As they walked on a trail in Custer State Park, they came across a large male bison which seemed "unconcerned" and continued to graze.

After giving it a wide berth of about 100 yards, with the dog in a harness, the animal suddenly stopped eating and charged at them.

Amelia was frozen with shock and the bison ploughed into her, goring her thigh and throwing her into the air.

It then stood around her before her friend managed to lead it away.

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The family said the full extent of the injury is not clear but it is described as "highly complex", with her tibial nerve fully severed, the peroneal tendon split down the middle and partly shredded and crushed. She has not been approved for flight back to the UK.

"The staff at Rapid City Hospital have been like a second family and have done everything they can at this point, saving both Mia’s life and leg, performing a bypass of the femoral artery," her family said.

Her family say she is lucky to be alive
Her family say she is lucky to be alive. Picture: GoFundMe

"However, as the artery and muscle damage is healing, Mia is still suffering from severe nerve pain, numbness and hypersensitivity, paralysis and limited mobility below the knee, being unable to walk without walking aids, and managing only about 20 yards.

"Mia will need a least one operation to have a chance at regaining full motion, and Rapid City Hospital, despite their amazing work on Mia's injury does not have the expertise nor equipment to properly examine and treat the nerve injury."

They hope to fly her to the Mayo clinic, a specialist group they say could be her "best chance to regain control of her foot, and time is running out".

A bison charged Amelia in a nature park in South Dakota
A bison charged Amelia in a nature park in South Dakota. Picture: Getty

"The initial tests alone cost around $8,000, not including transport, accommodation and other expenses, the later flights home, or any possible surgeries needed.

"We are therefore asking to raise money to allow Mia to receive at least the initial testing and possible surgery at Mayo clinic," they said.

"She is a bright and active young woman, our youngest child and only girl, who is only just beginning her adult life.

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"She has been incredibly strong throughout this whole process, coming close to death, continuing to suffer now and yet still remaining positive. Since she was little she has had a passion for dance, and we can still remember her joy on getting her first pointe shoes and our inability to get her to take them off.

"As well as having a sense of adventure, love for life and people, she worked for half the year to save the money to go backpacking."

The family has raised £15,000 of their target.