Shropshire car accident survivor Grace defies the odds and enrols at college

Resuscitated twice at the accident scene, a Shropshire teenager spent six weeks in intensive care, but now the amazing survivor is fighting to get back to a normal life.

Shropshire car accident survivor Grace defies the odds and enrols at college

Grace Currie, of Bagley, near Ellesmere, was hit by a car when she was 17, and was left with severe brain injuries, no-one knowing how well she would recover.

Less than four years on, Grace has fought against all the odds, as she begins studying art and photography at college.

She said: "I just love drawing, so I'm doing that at college. My favourite thing to draw is camels, which is quirky, but I'm a bit quirky!

"I'm working on some acrylic things at the moment, and I really enjoy it."

She has been attending Derwen College, Oswestry, for a couple of days a week, and has also achieved a City and Guilds qualification in acrylic art.

Now Grace's family hope she can gradually start at Shropshire College for Arts and Technology in September.

Carer and long-time family friend, Netty Brook, 54, now lives with Grace and her family.

She said: "She's come on massive leaps and bounds, and now it would be just brilliant if she could get integrated at college.

"Grace loves art; she's always got some great ideas for different things.

"She'll still need support in class, mainly with reading and writing. She can do it, but her memory holds her back a bit.

"There's a lot of work to do on that, but she's always surprising us with what she ends up doing!"

A lower sixth form pupil at college in Shrewsbury at the time, Grace was in a critical condition after being hit by a car while crossing a road in Baschurch in September 2010.

The accident happened near the Admiral Duncan Pub when Grace was walking along Shrewsbury Road, towards Shrewsbury.

Grace spent six weeks in a coma, when her mother says her life hung by just a thread. She was then treated in a neuro special care ward, transferring to a rehabilitation unit in Stoke.

Recovery began slowly when glimpses of improvement began to show, such as eye movement, before Grace was able to breathe by herself and sit upright with help from physiotherapists.

Spending months in hospital, it wasn't until March 2011 that Grace was able to return to Bagley for short trips, progressing to weekends at home.

Netty said: "It's shocking looking back now to what she couldn't do. We look at her now and forget sometimes that she couldn't even walk!

"She's lost two stone, joined the gym and last year, she couldn't swim. Last week, Grace got her 25 metres achievement.

"She's come on way beyond what any doctors thought she'd get to, so we're so proud of her.

"Sometimes we look at photos that were taken and see how different things are; it's just such a privilege to see.

"I wouldn't even call myself a carer now, I'm more of a personal assistant!

"She does her own make-up, and things she couldn't do before, like showering. I'm just a helping hand now I suppose!"

Over a year on from the accident, Grace was given the all clear to return home, and had to overcome a new set of challenges, such as learning to walk. However, she was assisted by a wheelchair for a long period after that.

Grace said: "We don't have the wheelchair anymore! Dad put it in the attic or the garage.

"Getting rid of it, it felt fantastic."

In 2012 Grace won the Courage Award in The Shropshire Awards for her amazing recovery, which parents Graeme and Lorraine, say their strong Christian faith helped them through.

Netty said that they are very privileged to have Grace just as she was before the accident. "She's just as much fun as she always was. She's always laughing and joking

"Her personality was always fast. She talked fast, everything she did was fast, and there's no change there!

"We have such a great relationship, we're as daft as one another and I suppose that's why our relationship works!"

They also hope that her recovery will keep progressing, and she will be able to live with only small amounts of support.

"The thing is with Grace, you always think she's got to the point where she'll stop moving forward, and then suddenly she does something else," she said.

"There's a fat lady just waiting to sing that it's all over, but it never seems to be!

"We have a love hate relationship. Grace does love me, but she wants to be able to do things on her own now.

"That's the goal, to not have me here forever."

Coming up to her 21st birthday in July, Netty says that Grace's celebration plans have already begun.

"She's getting treated to a nice meal up at The Boathouse, and then all her friends will come to her open house later," said Netty.

But for now, Grace is looking forward to the possibility of going to college full-time to study what she really loves, and making new friends, starting in September.

She said: "My next step is to get into that college and get settled.

"It is really important to me, Derwen has been great, but I'm ready to move on now."

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