Wisbech mum who suffered devastating brain injury in car crash up for national award in recognition of her determination
- Credit: Archant
A determined mum is up for a prestigious national award for the inspirational way she has rebuilt her life after sustaining a devastating brain injury.
Joanne Davis, 46, of Wisbech, has been nominated for achiever of the year at the Headway Annual Awards, which celebrate the exceptional efforts of survivors of brain injury and those caring for and supporting them.
Fifteen years ago, the former personal assistant spent a month in a coma after she was involved in a car crash.
Her ordeal left her with many physical problems – even today she finds it difficult to balance and walk, occasionally suffering from bouts of severe agony.
Mrs Davis says going to classes run by Headway Cambridgeshire, a charity dedicated to helping people affected by brain injury, has helped her get back on track.
She has started making her own jewellery and helps run the charity’s peer support group.
She said: “I was so shocked to be named a finalist for the Headway awards. I did nothing – I was just myself.
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“My daughter Shannon and husband Peter have always been my support and encouragement as they are both so resilient and understanding.
“The hospital taught me how to physically function, but Headway has taught me how to live again.
“When I attended sessions at the charity’s centre it was like waking up. There are still daily challenges. I don’t recognise people I should know easily, and I have bouts of headaches and pain meaning I sometimes have to walk with a cane in order to balance.
“With the support of Headway, I can now accept my limitations and be proud of what I do achieve on a good day and it’s ok to rest on a bad day.
“My jewellery-making has particularly been a great benchmark for me, as I can pick it up at my own pace without the risk of letting anyone down.
“For me it’s not about dwelling on what I used to be and looking back at my life before brain injury while thinking ‘what if’ - it’s about building the future and looking at what I can do now.”
Joanne was put forward for the award by David Lynch, Headway Cambridgeshire’s training and development manager, who has watched her progress and improve since she joined the Headway group 11 years ago.
He said: “Jo’s story is one of transformation and I truly commend her incredible achievements
“It was very difficult for Jo to go from meticulously planning the business activities of a company’s chief executive to not even being able to plan her day.
“With the support of her peers Jo has become a shining example of what can be accomplished by brain injury survivors more than a decade on from a traumatic brain injury.”