Then that day came in June 1996 when everything changed. I was nine years old, and my family and I were on our way to the swimming pool. As we crossed the road, the left wing mirror of the speeding distracted driver hit me and I was thrown into the air. A brain bleed happened on the spot, epileptic seizures began instantly, and I was dying. A witness saw me from his window and came out to give me CPR, which definitely saved my life.
My brain was frozen. I was in a coma for two weeks and missed months of school. Since the traumatic event, I have suffered with many problems including intractable epilepsy, learning difficulties, and humiliating memory impairment. I drastically fell behind with my social development, independence and suffered regular periods of depression. Doing an 11-year court case for the claim has left me struggling with litigation stress to this day.
I’ve been supporting Brake since 2013 by sharing my story and fundraising. 2013 was a very difficult year and I totally lacked confidence and felt hopeless. I was regularly asking myself ‘How can life get better? How can I prevent this from happening to others?’ I genuinely wanted to go out into the world and speak for road safety. My objective was to help prevent such traumas happening to others.
I shared my story in a local newspaper and Brake got in touch to ask if I could help them with Road Safety Week. I remember when I first started volunteering because I had no idea what I was doing! No experience with the media, I was nervous! All I knew was what had happened to me and the thought of an interview with the media worried me slightly, especially with my habit of using strong language. But I wasn’t going to refuse the opportunity to support safe roads.
Road Safety Week in November 2013 was an unforgettable day for me. What started as a one off event with Brake turned into a profound confidence boosting and value provoking experience. Since I began campaigning with Brake, I feel much more confident and have determination to go out into the world and speak for road safety. Although that crash happened 25 years ago, it will always be a part of me.
Brake is about promoting road safety awareness and providing support to victims of dangerous driving. I am on a mission with Brake to end road deaths and injuries.
My ambition is to make roads safer and to prevent other life ruining injuries. I want everyone to be able to use the roads without risk.
I’m so deeply grateful for the work Brake does to promote road safety and I want to continue helping them in various ways.
This blog is published for Road Safety Week 2021 in celebration of the road safety heroes who help us make safe and healthy journeys and support people after road crashes. Click here to find out more and sign up to take part.