[h2]A young woman who plunged into an eight-year coma after a single experiment with heroin has died.[/h2]
Amy Pickard as a pretty schoolgirl and in a coma with mum Thelma
Amy Pickard, 25, featured on a television documentary when she appeared to be making a miracle recovery during a clinical trial in 2007.
There were reports she even began to breathe unaided and her mother Thelma said at the time that she was making "fantastic, steady progress".
But Amy, who collapsed after taking the drug once aged 17, died at a care home in Hastings earlier this week.
Ms Pickard, of Sedlescombe, East Sussex, wept as she told how her daughter had been her greatest inspiration and "best friend" over the last eight years.
Amy injected the drug once
She told Sky News Online: "Amy was just the most beautiful person in my world.
"She was in a coma but I saw her grow up for eight years. I loved her so much.
"Being with her for the past eight years has been the greatest thing in my life. She was the bravest, most inspirational person in the world."
Amy was seven months pregnant when she experimented with heroin in 2001 "after falling in with the wrong crowd", her mother said.
She collapsed in public toilets in Hastings and had to be resuscitated twice. She suffered brain damage and lapsed into a vegetative state.
Her baby, named Summer Louise, was delivered in hospital but died five days later.
Being with her for the past eight years has been the greatest thing in my life. She was the bravest, most inspirational person in the world.Mother Thelma Pickard
In 2007, Amy showed major signs of improvement after taking part in a worldwide trial of the drug Zolpidem, normally used as a sleeping pill.
Her mother said at the time: "Within 25 minutes of taking the pill I could see the expression in her face change. She appeared relaxed."
The trial followed research which showed some coma patients could be temporarily revived by taking the insomnia treatment.
Amy's death comes amid news of another drug-related tragedy involving a teenage girl.
An inquest has been told how Kate Walsh's parents tried desperately to get help for their daughter before she was found dead in a squat in Swindon, Wiltshire.
Ms Pickard said Amy will be buried this Friday.
She told Sky: "Amy was not a rock-and-roller but she loved her dancing. The funeral will be a celebration of her life.
"We'll be playing tracks from Dirty Dancing, Whitney Houston and Oasis."
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