Oliver Stevens’ family feared he may never see, walk or talk again when he was left with brain damage after a horrific crash in West Marton, near Skipton, North Yorkshire, on 15 July 2022.
Oliver, who was 21 at the time, suffered life-threatening injuries when his friend’s car collided with a 40-tonne articulated lorry.
Medics spent over an hour on the scene as Oliver’s lungs had collapsed and he wasn’t breathing. They also had to operate to save his eyesight. He was then air lifted to Leeds General Infirmary – home to the region’s Major Trauma Centre, where he spent four weeks in a coma while doctors saved his life.
Oliver suffered several fractures to his skull, paralysis down his left side, broke his ribs and collar bone, and damaged his vision and hearing. He spent months on the ward at LGI, before continuing his recovery at Rakehead Rehabilitation Centre at Burnley General Teaching Hospital, closer to his home in Barnoldswick, Lancashire.
Oliver’s mum Vicky Mara, 43, said: “The staff at Leeds General Infirmary saved my son's life, there simply aren't any other words. I will be forever grateful. We met some amazing nurses and carers that eased the pain of me leaving him every day and put up with me ringing through the night when I couldn't sleep. Thank you so much.”
While at Leeds Major Trauma Centre, Oliver’s family were supported by charity Day One Trauma Support, which provides a caseworker at the hospital to help people who have suffered catastrophic injuries. Day One provided Vicky with emotional and practical support, including counselling, legal advice, and a small grant to cover the immediate cost of travel and parking. Vicky, Oliver’s stepdad John, and dad Andy were commuting 80 miles each day to be by their son’s side.
Oliver, 23, is walking and talking, but is still recovering at home with support from his family and friends. He needs regular physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and psychological support. The left side of his body, especially his face and arm, still suffers from paralysis.
To help with his rehabilitation, and to keep himself motivated, Oliver decided to take on a 180,000-step walking challenge, which is around 85 miles, over 30 days to raise money for Day One Trauma Support. The charity continued to provide support and advice while they were in Burnley, and remain on hand throughout Oliver’s ongoing recovery.
Oliver said: “I'm still in full rehabilitation and this will continue for a long time. It's hard to motivate myself some days, but this challenge has helped give me the motivation I needed to be more active and help my recovery.
“Day One supported my family in our darkest days and continue to be there for us. They offer so many services such as counselling and legal information. I can't imagine not seeing my mum every day when I needed her the most. We were lucky to have such supportive family and friends, but unfortunately some people aren't as lucky as us and can't afford the travel expenses. Day One Trauma Support need more money to help all these families be with their loved ones. That’s why I wanted to give something back.”
Over the past month Oliver has been joined by his supportive family and friends to complete the walking challenge, even inspiring others to join Oliver’s Army and walk their own distance to support Day One.
To support Oliver visit www.justgiving.com/page/vicky-mara-1695553794491