This Friday, December 5, is a special day for Amy, and I, as she has been nominated for Carer Of The Year at the Headway Annual Awards Luncheon, at The Dorchester Hotel, in London.
So I thought it warranted an extra special blog, which I admit, is longer than normal, so I apologise, but it's worth it, so stick with me.
I could write millions of words about how incredible Amy has been, but I don't want to bore you, so I'm leaving it to the person who nominated her, my sister Laura, which meant a lot to us.
Before I continue, I'll tell the story of how Laura broke the news to me: last August, it was Amy's 23rd birthday, and to show their appreciation for everything Amy has done for me, my family threw her a surprise party, at my family home in Leicester.
Now, I'll tell you a little secret about Amy, which not many people know: her favourite food is buffet food; crisps, peanuts, quiches etc so, of course, there was a buffet.
Laura took me down my parents' garden to tell me she had nominated Amy and she had been chosen as the top three nominations for the carer of the year award and then, she told me she was going to announce it to Amy later that afternoon but she wanted me to know first, so I could release all of my emotions, you know, have a big cry, (again!) to get it all out of my system, I would love to say this was down to medication, or the result of my brain injury, but it was sheer pride. Pride to know Amy, but more importantly, pride to call her my girlfriend.
I cried a little but, eventually, pulled it together, thank god!
Back to the nomination:
Please state why you think your nominee deserves a Headway Award:
Laura: When my brother Will, suffered a massive subarachnoid haemorrhage in March 2013, he and his girlfriend had been together for just over a year. The prognosis for Will was bleak. If he survived the first few days after his life-saving operation, he would be paralysed down his left-hand side permanently. They expected he would be a different person, who may not recognise his family, let alone his girlfriend. Amy stayed by his side from day one.
At 21, Amy was young to have such a huge responsibility on her shoulders, but not once did she question her future with Will, or her love for him. She put her ambitions to be a teacher on hold to dedicate herself to Will’s recovery.
Will spent five months in hospital and rehabilitation. During this time, Amy was with him everyday, often going to work part-time in the morning in Poole and then driving an hour to his rehabilitation hospital in Salisbury, just to support him.
When Will was released home from hospital, Amy moved her life to
Cheltenham to be with him and look after him. It was tough. It was the first time Amy had lived away from home on her own - and she was his carer. Amy has put her life, and teaching studies on hold; to make sure she has been there every step of the way for Will’s recovery, sacrificing her own hopes and ambitions to be a teacher to ensure Will had the best chance.
Everyday Amy makes sure Will is okay before herself. She has tirelessly devoted hours to his physical rehabilitation, taking Will on long walks around Cheltenham, swimming and, more recently, to the gym. She organises, and makes sure, he attends all of his hospital/doctors appointments. Amy has worked hard with Will to get him back to work, fulfilling his goals about returning to work as a rugby journalist at the local paper. Amy has to do all the driving and with Will’s family in Leicester, and Amy’s family in Bournemouth; this means long hours behind the wheel, but Amy never complains.
Amy was due to begin a PGCE in August 2013, but deferred for a year to devote herself to Will's recovery. She began last September but only after making sure Will was safe and had completed his own personal goals.
Will suffers with memory problems and some physical limitations on his left-hand side but his recovery has been nothing short of a miracle from the original prognosis. Amy encourages him everyday to not let his brain injury dictate who he is, or how they live their life. There have been setbacks, but Amy and Will have approached these with the same determination they have approached everything else; without fuss and with sheer hard work.
Will is far down the road to recovery, but still has some way to go. Amy is an outstanding carer who deserves recognition for the selfless way she has devoted herself and her life to Will’s recovery and their ongoing future while managing to continue working part-time at Waitrose and training to become a teacher.
Will: I would just like to add my thanks and pride for knowing Amy, let alone have the honour to call her my girlfriend.
She has been my hero, my lifesaver, and, award or not, always will be.
I'll never be able to put into words my gratitude and admiration for her, but I'll try: thank you Amy.