Hemel stroke survivor who helped others overcome brain injuries is shortlisted for national award
A Hemel Hempstead woman who has suffered SIX strokes has been shortlisted for a national award finalist after helping improve the lives of brain injuries.
Nicola Evans, 36, was diagnosed with a cluster of abnormal vessels on her brain since the age 13, and has suffered multiple strokes since.
But despite her struggles, Nicola has gone on to set up her own business and give inspirational talks to fellow survivors.
She now been nominated for the Alex Richardson Achiever of the Year award for tireless efforts to help others.
Nicola said: “When I found out I’d been nominated, I felt every single emotion. I was excited, honoured, humbled, proud and so, so happy.
“I work so hard every day to battle the fatigue, weakness and pain. To be nominated for this award makes it all worth it. I hope to inspire others and just keep going forwards.”
Nicola believed that her ambition to become a nail technician was over after her sixth and latest brain haemorrhage.
This was followed by a stroke, causing her to lose 50 per cent of her vision and the use of her left arm and leg.
"I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to pursue my passion of becoming a nail technician," said Nicola.
"I had dreamed of passing my course and maybe starting a business of my own one day, but the haemorrhages and stroke made this seem impossible.”
Despite undergoing a high-risk craniotomy, Nicola has gone on to start her own successful business.
She also started using her experiences to help other brain injury survivors at charity Headway Hertfordshire.
“It taught me more about brain injury and gave me practical ways to get back to normality and work," she added.
“Most importantly, the project, and Headway Hertfordshire as a whole, helped by giving me people to talk to in the same situation. Meeting with other survivors made me feel not so alone.”
The Achiever of the Year and the Stephen McAleese Outstanding Contribution to Headway Award will be named at a glittering ceremony at the InterContinental hotel in Mayfair, along with awards for the Carer and Volunteer of the Year.