A young Australian woman’s European summer turned into a nightmare when she was hospitalised with a debilitating spinal injury after swimming in Croatia.

Best friends Tiana Sluka and Jordan Robinson, from Victoria, were enjoying the “trip of a lifetime”, when tragedy struck two and a half weeks before they were due to return home.

Jordan, 20, jumped “joyously” into the water at the tourist mecca of Dubrovnik late last month when something went “terribly wrong” as she landed.

Bystanders pulled the young Aussie from the sea and she was rushed to a nearby hospital. There, doctors revealed a “devastating diagnosis”.

Jordan had fractured her L1 in her spine, a vertebrae located towards the middle of her back, with the bone fragments dangerously compressing her spinal cord. She was transported to a different hospital in the nearby city of Split, where she underwent emergency surgery, leaving her friend Tiana behind.

Now, the young woman is stranded and alone in Croatia with a debilitating injury.

While Tiana’s mother rushed over at her own expense to comfort the two women, Jordan’s own mum was “unable to travel immediately due to passport issues and financial constraints”.

“The anguish of not being there for her daughter during this difficult time was an unimaginable burden to bear,” Tiana’s sister, Kayla, wrote on a GoFundMe page launched to raise money for Jordan’s medical expenses.

The fundraiser has collected $48,650 of its $50,000 target from 287 donations.

If Jordan’s conditions improves, and “she can come home before her mum Marg arrives”, the money will be used for her rehabilitation, modifications to her home and to accommodate her recovery, the fundraising page states.

But if she doesn‘t recover quickly, the money will be directed to her ongoing hospital expenses.

At this stage, it doesn’t appear that Jordan will be discharged anytime soon, though she has managed to take “some steps” while in hospital, Kayla said.

Kayla described the devastation both women felt when their picturesque holiday came to a devastating end, as well as the horror felt by their mothers upon hearing of the injury.

“It was a trip that the girls had meticulously planned, researched, and saved for over a year and a half. This was their moment to explore the world and create beautiful memories that would last a lifetime,” Kayla wrote.

“Thousands of miles away, the worry and helplessness that comes with being a mother on the other side of the world pierced their hearts.”



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