just how much you can inadvertently touch someone’s heart and never know.
Me with my awesome physios, Eva Sobonova and Heather Lloyd
Apparently the award I received last week involved a nomination. I’m sort of lost for words as I’ve been shown this:
” As therapists we strive to do our best for all of our patients, building their confidence and independence to the best of our abilities and go home feeling we are making a difference to someone’s life. There are always those patients however who come into our hospitals and rehabilitation units who keep us thinking just that little bit longer, giving us back so much more than we could ever put in. He can challenge us to learn more, work harder and better to find ways of achieving seemingly tiny goals which are the foundation of so many greater things to come. He is the patient we go home and tell our loved ones about (confidentially of course!), reflecting on his story, his fight for survival, his drive to live and achieve the unthinkable. He makes a seemingly bad day worth the struggle, a bad day which pales in comparison to the struggles he faces every day. His determination is so strong he surpasses expectation and achieves amazing things.
‘He’, to me, is Nick Verron.
Nick was stabbed through the brain with a screwdriver in a random, unprovoked attack in 2009 leaving him for dead in an alley. He was 25 years old. Weeks in a coma reinforced the expectation that he would not survive, his family told to expect the worst, a murder investigation pending. Against all odds, Nick survived, perhaps the first example of his self-proclaimed stubbornness and determination that followed the months of rehabilitation and years battling to regain a sense of normal, a life, a purpose, an absolution for this cruel and senseless act. Nick was left with a profound right sided weakness, ataxia, visual problems, the inability to swallow, walk or talk, an unquantifiable list of impairments and ailments, his future looking bleak. These details are not intended to evoke sympathy and provide bias to this application, but are included to demonstrate how truly remarkable Nick is as a person, his achievements so brilliant against the odds and thus he is so deserving.
I still remember meeting Nick for the first time last year, his frank account of his condition and his dry and infectious sense of humour depicting details many would find shocking and distressing. He spoke of his willpower, how he was told he would never walk again and how he was so determined to prove this wrong, in his words, he ‘refused to loose’. This all came before Nick got his trike; he couldn’t walk independently yet but he could certainly cycle. As soon as he was able Nick took to the road, enjoying a new found freedom he believed he would never have again. It wasn’t long before Nick declared his desire to participate in a cycling event for charity to raise awareness of acquired brain injury and raise money that could be used to help people, educate people, change peoples’ lives. His participation in isolation a means to inspire others, any charitable donations, a bonus.
Nick was not particularly sporty before his injury, he is an example to others of the positive things that can happen as a result of the unthinkable. Meeting great people, finding new interests, learning new skills, making the very best of what you are still able to do even if this is a far reflection of your former self, are attributes that Nick personifies beautifully. Finding a sense of purpose and seeing every good moment that would only have happened in the event of such a tragedy. Nick chose to participate in the UK’s first ever Paratriathlon with his physiotherapists myself and Eva Sobonova. I suggested entering the sprint competition however one glance from Nick later we were completing the paperwork for a full length triathlon requiring Nick to complete a 20km cycle. He would strive for nothing less.
Nick has bravely shared his story with the nation and across the world, his mother proudly blogging his ever growing list of achievements, BBC news following his journey and broadcasting his success with full support and admiration. Nick decided he would like to raise £3000 for UKABIF, an amount that Eva and I shared concerned glances about reaching given the short time scale and seemingly unachievable target. Nick achieved this of course in only two weeks, his determination evoking support and sponsorship from all around the world. During the triathlon Nick fell badly from his trike, taking a corner at speed determined every second could inspire someone, raise another pound or prove his point even further. He carried on of course to complete his leg of the event and our little team felt an unbelievable sense of pride in what we had achieved. Nick inspired me to swim a distance I felt I could never do, Eva to run faster than she had before. It is hard to keep up with Nick sometimes! He has let the nation see his vulnerability, his frank and honest account told with such humour to show other people what they can achieve, people with or without a disability. I am an example of this. He has raised money for charity which he could easily have directed towards his own self gain; raising money for vital treatment and aids would have been just as acceptable. Not to Nick though.
I am extremely excited for Nick’s future as he is seeking every positive outcome of his darkest time and his determination knows no boundaries. Last month he completed the London to Brighton cycle, twice in 48 hours of course because once was not enough in his eyes. He inspires me, my team and my hospital and I hope this account of this brilliant man inspires you in some way.”