A DREAM cruise trip turned into a nightmare for a Dearne teenager when she contracted a mystery bug which left her fighting for life.
Chelsea Rose Cartwright, 18, spent Christmas in a hospital bed after she developed septicemia from a virus she caught while on a cruise in the Mediterranean.
The Denaby college student was supposed to have been a bridesmaid at her father Craig’s wedding during the trip last November.
But she managed just 20 minutes at the ceremony and spent most of her time in a cabin with a fever.
The poor teen has spent over a month in hospital and has had to undergo two blood transfusions.
Family members say her condition was so critical at one stage she was fighting for life.
Her mum Claire, 37, of Devon Court, Denaby Main, said: “When I met her off the cruise I could not believe that was my daughter.
“She could barely talk and could not walk. Her condition got worse and it got so bad at one stage we feared we may lose her.”
Chelsea was taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary after the P&O liner docked in Southampton on November 22 after ten days at sea.
She was treated in the Intensive Care Unit before being transferred to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, where she remains today.
Mum Claire said she has undergone two six pint blood transfusions.
“The septicemia had stopped her bone marrow from functioning and she had a low white blood cell count.
“The doctors still don’t know what the initial bug was.
“It has not been a good Christmas for us. I had to bring her presents in on Christmas Day.
“Thankfully she is starting to improve slowly, but they think she will be in hospital for another month.”
She added that she was considering making an official complaint about how P&O staff cared for her aboard the cruise.
Said Claire: “My main concern is for my daughter to get better, but after that I will be looking into how good or bad the staff were.”
This has been a particularly difficult period for the Cartwright family as this marks the second Christmas without Chelsea’s cousin Matthew, eight, who drowned in a canal in August 2011.
Grandad Kevin, 59, of Elder Grove, Conisbrough, said: “We were trying to come to terms with what happened to Matthew, and then this happens.
“We took Chelsea out for a meal for her birthday just before she went on the cruise and she was fine.
“We could not believe how much she had deteriorated when she got off the cruise.
“She is over the worst of it now we hope. It has been very hard for her, she has been through a lot in the last few weeks.”
The South Yorkshire Times contacted P&O but we did not receive a response at the time of going to press.