I'm often surprised and humbled at the bravery of injured people who come to my firm for advice. For countless reasons, these individuals have had their lives turned completely upside down; they may be unable to work and support their families, an accident could have paralysed their child so that a lifetime of 24 hour care will be needed.
Despite everyone's best efforts to stay safe, tragedies happen. At Simpson Millar we meet some of the people who have suddenly found themselves in a very difficult situation through no fault of their own.
But what strikes me most about people beset by difficult circumstances is the huge number of examples in which we find that these experiences have prompted them to redirect their energy towards helping others in need.
Therefore, I'd like to dedicate this Christmas blog post in tribute to a few of the examples that I know of. I would be delighted to hear about any other ones you would like to mention.
From my own firm's perspective we have been lucky enough to witness several inspirational stories. For example, Dominic Hurley suffered a severe head injury after falling off a moped in 1994. He was living near Ayia Napa in Cyprus for his studies when the accident happened.
"I was actually travelling very slowly when I came off the bike - only suffering minor grazes and cuts to my body so it shouldn't have been a big deal," he said. "But because I wasn't wearing a helmet the blow to my head caused paralysis down my right side, a substantial memory deficiency and slight speech problems. The paralysis has eased with therapy over time, but I still walk with a limp."
Dominic, now in his late 30s, has been defying the odds and cycling for over five years; participating in several races and charity events and now hoping to secure a place at next year's Paralympic Games. Altogether he has raised over £50,000 for various charities including Headway, the brain injury association.
A few years back, a terrible incident also took the life grandmother Elizabeth Hope, in whose name the charity Elizabeth's Legacy of Hope was created to support children in the UK and developing countries who suffer from limb loss. Like many such examples, I am astounded by the amount of projects this cause has managed to get off the ground in only a few years of fundraising. Thanks to the generous donations of its supporters and tireless efforts of its founders, ELoH has raised enough money to provide over 4,800 child amputees in the developing world with a new leg; an incredible achievement.
When I'm faced with this kind of courage I run out of superlatives, but I hope that the stories speak for themselves. I am glad to have had a glimpse of what drives people like Dominic Hurley and twin sisters Sarah Hope and Victoria Bacon who inspired ELoH to bring change to other people's lives.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish them and all of the people they've supported, a very merry Christmas and a happy 2012.
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