One sunny morning a few years ago I was at breakfast with my friend Kate. She was really upset. She told me how her friend Nick had been in a terrible accident and things weren’t looking good. In fact they were looking very, very bad. Nick’s fiancée Eve had flown back from Bali where she’d been planning their wedding, and was at his bedside hoping for a miracle. Kate was in tears as she told me how helpless she felt, and asked if my parents church would pray for Nick. We all left breakfast that morning hoping for a miracle and that Nick would survive. This is his story.
Nick Lonie is 35 years old. A proud Scot, qualified engineer, snow ski instructor and surf club lifesaver. He even once drove overland through Africa.
Two years ago Nick was involved in an accident at Ledge Point which resulted in him being airlifted to Perth and placed in an induced coma for 3 weeks. Nick had a severe head injury. During this time he had several surgeries including craniectomy in which they removed a large section of the front of his skull. His prognosis was extremely poor and he was unlikely to survive. If he were to survive it was anticipated that he would be significantly disabled both mentally and physically.
At the time of the accident Eve, his fiancée and an emergency department doctor, was in Bali planning their wedding with her mum. She immediately returned home to Australia. Eve boarded the plane whilst Nick was undergoing surgery, knowing that potentially he would not survive the journey home. She then sat by his bed for three weeks straight in which time he deteriorated. They played a waiting game, willing him to get better. Every year hundreds of Australian families anxiously sit in Intensive Care Units fighting very similar heartbreaking battles.
Over time the swelling in Nick’s head decreased and they slowly woke him up from the coma. He was extremely agitated when he woke up and didn’t remember who he was, who Eve or his family were and he thought he was back in Scotland. Nick had to be constantly reorientated to time and place. It was a very traumatic and sad time. Eventually with rehabilitation, Nick regained most of his memory.
Nick married Eve in a beautiful Bali wedding in July 2012. Nick’s rehabilitation period posed many challenges, physically and psychologically -it put a huge strain on his and Eve’s relationship. He has lost his smell completely and has a scar running across his head from ear to ear. He had to wear a helmet until he had the bone replaced that they took away during his initial surgery, making him very vulnerable and self conscious. Eve was terrified of rolling over in bed and accidentally hitting him directly in the brain!
When you meet Nick you barely notice the trauma he has sustained. His positive attitude and commitment to rehabilitation have resulted in his continuous improvement over the last 2 years. Since his injury he has competed in a half ironman, started his own public speaking company called Ti22 and also volunteers in presenting to high school students on action/ consequence and the impact of bad decisions.
Nick and Eve have organised a very special charity event on 24th January to celebrate the Scot’s national day with the famous Burns Supper! Nick and Eve have put a massive amount of time into coordinating this fabulous event because they want to help others with traumatic brain injury who were not as fortunate in their recovery.
Brain injury does not discriminate, it can happen to anyone. It is a very under funded area and recovery can be very distressing for both the individual and their family and friends.
If you are able to contribute in any way, please head to the Charity Burns Supper website where you can find out more info, purchase tickets or make a donation.
Anything you can do to help is greatly appreciated!!
Do you believe in miracles?
Do you know anyone who has survived a terrible accident? What happened?
You might also like to read about my cousin Emma who was a survivor of the Miracle on the Hudson back in 2009. I still get teary just thinking about it!0