Doctors said I’d be a vegetable – but I’ve proved them wrong

A WOKING man who was helped to stand and begin to communicate again by the White Lodge Centre after suffering massive brain damage in a car accident is asking local people to help to raise £24,000 for the disability charity.

Stewart Newman suffered horrific head injuries in October 2007 when he lost control of his car which hit an oncoming lorry.

“I can’t remember a thing but somehow I survived. However, the violent side-to-side wrenching of my head cause irreparable brain damage. I was only 25,” Stewart explained to the News & Mail.

“My family were told I would remain in a vegetative state for the rest of my life.

“I spent the next two months in a semi-induced coma and was later transferred to the Royal Hospital for Neuro Disability in Putney where I remained for five years.

“Despite my permanent brain damage, parts of my brain started to slowly come back to life. I became aware of the world around me but frustratingly I couldn’t move, I only had use of my right arm and I couldn’t even talk.”

APPEAL – Stewart with his brothers, from left, Mark, Matt and Scott

Stewart went back home, which has been adapted to his needs and a live-in carer was engaged.

A short while later his mum Lynne arranged for Stewart to attend Rendezvous, the White Lodge adults centre at Chertsey, and after several years of therapy, he was recently able to stand for the first time since the car accident.

“It was amazing and I felt so happy. I can now talk a few words and can spell out words using my hand. Even though it’s broken, my brain is still amazing and what I have never lost, is the ability to smile,” Stewart wrote.

The therapy has included massage, hydrotherapy and gentle exercise of all my limbs by a team led by Sarah Norman.

“They have been my saviour. They keep pushing me to get better and the social element of my visits is so good for me.”

Mum Lynne said: “Without White Lodge we would be on our own. Stewart’s lovable spirit has never died, and he keeps us going through his positive attitude. I am so proud of Stew and so grateful to his live-in carers who have become adopted family members, and the team at White Lodge – they are all extraordinary.”

STEWART and his family are urging local people to help White Lodge raise £24,000 through the Big Give Christmas Challenge, which matches fundraising for charities for a week shortly before Christmas. The Big Give runs from Tuesday 27 November until noon on 4 December. White Lodge spokesman Claire Brown said the charity took part in the initiative last year and raised £6,000, which was turned into £12,000. This year it hoped to double these figures and the money would help to fill the big deficit in adult therapy. The charity will put a banner on its website, www.whitelodgecentre.co.uk from which donations can be made and there is more information at www.thebiggive.org.uk/christmas-challenge.

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