Kate can’t remember a thing about her horrific car crash in October 2010. But she was told that her car spun round in the road after hitting a tree. No-one knew how it had happened or why. She was airlifted to hospital and lay in a coma for three months.
When she came round she was told she had suffered brain injury. ‘I had to learn everything all over again, how to speak, to read, to write… everything.’ The left hand side of her upper body was paralysed and she found herself in a wheelchair.
Kate had huge support from her parents and two older brothers, and after two further spells of residential rehab she was discharged home.
‘When you are discharged the unit believes they have done all they can and further progress is not possible,’ Kate said, ‘but we didn’t go along with that and for two years I had a private physio and continued to make great gains.’
Kate had learned the most basic skills in rehab but she was still wheelchair-bound and determined not to be. ‘Now I can walk without the chair, although I use it for long distances,’ she said. ‘I have had great help from Headway and now I feel I have my life back.’
Kate regularly meets other young people with brain damage and finds this Headway group stimulating. ‘I just love to mingle with young people like me who know what it is to suffer brain damage and have to fight your way back to as much of normality as you can. Others can never understand, they will never know.’
Kate was a croupier before the accident and she revelled in her work. ‘I just loved it, but I realise I am very unlikely to get back to that because I still have paralysis in one of my hands and a croupier needs both their hands.’
Kate is not sure whether she will eventually study or find other work, ‘But I know whatever I seek to do, my family will be right behind me. You know, sometimes when you lack the willpower you need someone to urge you on. My family have been just brilliant.’