20 April 2012
A mother who was left with a severe brain injury after a car accident has been selected to be one of the torchbearers during the London 2012 Olympic Relay this summer.
Caroline Waugh, 45, from Totley, had to rebuild her life after the accident in 1988 and now dedicates her time to helping others going through rehabilitation with Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust.
The car accident affected the mother of two’s mobility and ability to judge distance, meaning she is unable to drive. Caroline, mother to Daisy, 13 and Finn, 9, first accessed the Trust’s rehabilitation services over 20 years ago, and she is now a Long Term Neurological Conditions (LTNC) service user.
To further her rehabilitation she decided to take up cycling so she could stop using her mobility scooter. With the help of a donation and advice from The Cycling Touring Club, Caroline was able to find a bike that was perfect for her and it wasn’t long before she was involved in Sheffield’s Cycling Champions Project – a not-for-profit organisation working with targeted community groups to encourage and create access to cycling.
The project, managed by Steve Marsden, runs disability cycle sessions at Hillsborough Park where Caroline volunteers. It was her volunteer work at the cycle sessions that led to her being nominated as an Olympic Torch carrier and she will now carry the flame when it passes through Rotherham.
Caroline said: “Cycling helped me get back to my old self. Before the accident I was happy, proactive and sociable and afterwards I struggled to get back to that – but being involved in the cycling really brought that out of me again. I enjoy volunteering at the sessions. It is rewarding seeing people with disabilities enjoy a sense of freedom when they get on the bikes and tricycles.
“After I became a volunteer I was made a Community Health Champion in Sheffield and it was Nigel West, Community Health Champions Network Co-ordinator for Sheffield Well-being Consortium, who nominated me to carry the Olympic Torch.
“I was delighted when I found out I’d been selected, it is such a fantastic thing to be a part of, and I just can’t wait for June 26 to come around now. I feel really honoured to have been chosen.”
Caroline continues to help others and is member of SHSC’s Brain Injury Rehabilitation Research Partnership. This group is currently undertaking an evaluation of the Trust’s Sheffield Community Brain Injury Rehabilitation Team and considers the experience of service users when discharged from the service.
For more information about Sheffield’s Cycling Champions Project contact Steve on 07717510582.