LEFT for dead in a hit and run while on holiday in Ibiza, Mellisa Sanders was given no chance of survival by medics.
Hit by a taxi in San Antonio two days before her break was due to end, the 18-year-old’s injuries were so bad doctors did not expect her to last the night.
But, on a life-support machine, the former Whitburn Comprehensive pupil started to improve and recovered to the point where she could be flown home.
However, before she left, medics told distraught mum Christine her daughter would be in a “vegetative state” for the rest of her life, unable to move or eat.
Now, more than four years on, Mellisa, 22, continues to defy the doctors who gave her up for dead in September 2007, and is described as an “inspiration” by her family.
Not only can she communicate with loved ones, but after physio sessions in a hospital gym she has recently taken a few steps with the aid of a walking frame.
Other everyday activities people take for granted, such as applying her make-up with a little help, brushing her hair, dressing herself and cleaning her teeth, have also represented recovery milestones.
“Mellisa is truly an inspiration,” said proud mum Christine, 56, from Whitburn.
“From where she was four years ago, she is defying the doctors every step of the way – she’s amazing.
“Until now we didn’t want to say anything, but Mellisa wants everyone to know how well she is doing in the hope it will inspire others who have also suffered traumatic injuries, in their recovery.”
Mellisa was holidaying with friends in Ibiza as they celebrated their A-level results when tragedy struck.
The group were getting out of a taxi, on what her mum described as a “poorly-lit road” when she was hit by a cab.
The driver drove off leaving the teen for dead on the roadside. The cabbie has never been caught.
Mellisa’s older brother Daryl, and his partner Claire White, who were also holidaying on the island, were first to arrive at her hospital bedside.
Christine said: “It was really hard for me, being here at home, trying to find out what was happening because of the language barrier, but as soon as I could, I flew out there to be by her bedside.
“It was a shock when I saw her, I can only describe her as being smashed beyond recognition. She was a mess.”
Mellisa spent almost three weeks on the machine before doctors finally felt able to take her off the equipment helping to keep her alive.
She is now receiving specialist rehabilitation at Walkergate Hospital.
Mellisa, who had achieved A-levels in law and business studies, had set her heart on becoming a lawyer. She remains determined to one day have a job.