Hairdresser Laura, 35, returns as VIP guest to celebrate first birthday of Sue Ryder Centre

As the pioneering Sue Ryder Neurological Centre in Fulwood celebrates its first birthday Laura Bacon shares her story about the life changing and life enhancing care and help she received there.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 12:30 pm

Hairdresser Laura Bacon was a VIP guest at the first birthday party of the Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre in Fulwood, Preston this week.

Last year the 35 year old was a client at the centre and credits its specialist intensive rehabilitation programme with transforming her life following brain surgery and a prolonged seizure.

She arrived at the Sue Ryder centre on September 10 last year and recalled: " When I came in I was incredibly nervous, emotional and scared. This was the first time I had been unable to walk and in a wheelchair, which was incredibly daunting. I have both epileptic and non-epileptic attacks which I never could understand but during my stay at Sue Ryder many things were explained in ways I had never been given before. "

Laura Bacon was the VIP guest at the first birthday of the Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre in Fulwood Photo: Neil Cross

She continued: "It's a very special place for me, being able to be given a chance to go there and be given the treatment and the help physical and mental. I'm just a completely different person."

The shock of having to cope with the changes facing her was immense. She recalled: "With it all being new and sudden for me - they just enabled me to be able to cope with the challenges that were facing me. They gave me the tools and support to be able to leave there and help me to live independently. ‘After the 12 weeks I left a new person. I left knowing who I was as a person. I left positive, strong and remarkably changed, able to do things I couldn’t do when I arrived. The whole place made a huge difference to me.

"I'm now in a wheelchair. Instead of thinking it a negative I was able to process it and be able to leave in a positive way. I'm the most positive I've ever been in my life now. I'll be able to help and be the support for other people. I really am far more confident than I've ever been. I'm so grateful to have been able to go to Sue Ryder. There are so many different people from the kitchen staff,the reception, the cleaners,other people staying there, the carers - every single person they all made a difference to my journey."

Laura had been diagnosed with an AVM (abnormal blood vessel) in the left temporal lobe of her brain, following a sudden seizure while celebrating her mother's birthday on a special spa day two years ago.

Party time at the Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre in Fulwood as staff celebrate 12 months since the centre opened on Teal Avenue.

She said: "It's very rare - it's usually found by a stroke or a severe brain haemmorhage. Mine had already haemmorhaged. I just had a seizure and was take to Blackpool Victoria Hospital. I was then referred to Preston as a specialist hospital"

She went on to have brain surgery and said: " After a craniotomy to remove it I was still left with epilepsy."

A year later, on August 4, 2020, she had a major setback when she suffered a prolonged seizure and had to be airlifted to hospital.

She said: "I was airlifted to the Royal Preston Hospital and I spent three days in a coma and was then on a ward in the hospital for five weeks."

It was then that she transferred to the Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre.

Laura now lives in her own apartment in Darwen. She could not go back home to live with her mum because the house was not suitable for a wheelchair. But she said: " I'm coping really well. I have carers that come in and I have neurophysio once a week and an occupational therapist. Before I left Sue Ryder there were certain things I wanted to be able to do - like be in a kitchen, make my bed, tidy round, wash up ... that kind of thing. I wanted to make sure I could do my medication. Sue Ryder really helped me from being there to living and being independent. I lived with my mum - it was a massive step. Hopefully I can go back to hairdressing. When I was at Sue Ryder I did one of the lady's hair, she was one of the patients and was going to a wedding, her daughter's wedding I think. That was really nice...Everything has turned out alright for me and I'm grateful.

"My time at Sue Ryder is for sure the greatest gift I will ever receive in my life and I shall be forever grateful. I owe the rehab unit my chance of independence, my ability to work ahead to walk, and a newfound self, physically and mentally. I want to return to volunteer, fundraise and help in any way I can to pay back my love for Sue Ryder. It’s truly a special place."

To read more about the Centre's first birthday celebration see here .

To read about how the party brought singer Dani Wallace and Centre resident Danny Gallagher, a former Preston councilor, together after a year see here.

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