Rachel Watson, age 28 from Bolton, had an unexpected brain haemorrhage back in 2015 which caused memory damage and confusion.

Initially Rachel was taken to the A&E department at the Northern General Hospital but then she was transferred to the Hallamshire where they discovered an AVM on her brain.

An AVM is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain. The arteries are responsible for taking oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain and the veins carry the oxygen-depleted blood back to the lungs and heart. A brain AVM disrupts this vital process.
Generally AVM’s are extremely rare and affect less than one percent of the population and Rachel was completely unaware she had an AVM until this point.

Rachel said: “I was put in an induced coma and had a drain fitted to take the excess fluid from my brain. I remained in a coma for around 10 days before my sedation was gradually lifted to see how I coped.

“There were a lot of ups and downs during this time and around three weeks later I had to have a lumber puncture as more fluid had built up on my brain.

“When the sedation was removed I was very, very confused, I didn’t understand what was going on or what had happened, everything was very patchy. Eventually with lots of help from the hospital staff, my family and friends and I began to piece my life, and memories back together.

“After around 2 months I was transferred to Osbourneat the Northern General where Iunderwent a course of occupational therapy to help me get back to my normal life again.

“Neurocare were hugely important to my family and friends during this time. When I was taken into hospital a Neurocare funded ‘family room’ was reserved for them, this space provided my loved ones with a quiet place away from the ward where they were able to reflect on what was going on.

“Once I left hospital I realised that going back to living independently wasn’t going to be achievable for a long time, so I moved back home to Bolton with my family. I had occupational therapy to re-learn how to do things within the home safely and how to achieve tasks outside the home such as travelling on busses by myself – little things which are so easily taken for granted.

“It’s been a massive emotional rollercoaster and I still can’t quite believe it happened but I’m so thankful for all the care and love I have received. I’m much better now, I’m still working on my memory but I’ve learnt how to lead my life with what I have.

“I chose to run Head Start 5K as I think Neurocare are a fantastic charity who support patients and their families– I still read the Neurocare notebook that was given to my family for them to write down what happened.

So here’s another event to write down in the diary – but this one was a lot happier!

“Head Start was an all-round fantastic day. Hearing other people’s stories about how Neurocare helped them and their families was so emotional and it really brought home how difficult it is for families and how important Neurocare are. It felt great to achieve something for such a great cause.

“I really can’t even begin to thank Neurocare enough for all they did for us and I hope to continue to help raise money and awareness for the charity in years to come.”

Rachel’s Just Giving page can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rachel-watson54