Interview: Incredible Lauren's bravery after horror accident

Helping youngsters in the Harrogate district - Lauren Doherty. (1807102AM1)
Helping youngsters in the Harrogate district - Lauren Doherty. (1807102AM1)

Not many people would have reacted to a horrific life-changing event with as much bravery as ex-Harrogate High School student Lauren Doherty has.

An accident crossing the road during a night out with friends as a carefree teenager left the now 29-year-old from Knaresborough paralysed.

That was ten years ago. She is still in a wheelchair. There will be no recovery.
But in 2016 this determined young woman visited her first school to give her first talk on road safety to help children stay safe on the roads.

Since then Lauren has taken her road safety talks to Dacre Braithwaite Primary School, Aspin Park Primary School, Glasshouses Primary School, Killinghall Primary School and many other places.

What everyone who sees her talk says is she that she is remarkably open, very honest and totally inspirational.
In frank terms, but tailored to the age group of her audience, she spells put the reality of what happens if you don’t cross the road safely.

Here she describes in her own words her story and how she has fought back from that fateful night in 2008.

Lauren said: “It was a summer’s evening and I’d just turned 20. I’d been out with a group of friends to watch a band play.
“I was walking home with a friend. I don’t know what made me cross the road at the wrong time.
“I crossed without looking, a decision that would change my life forever.
“I don’t remember anything of the actual accident. I broke my spine in two places and my pelvis and my wrist.

“I had a bleed on my aorta requiring a stent to be fitted, compartment syndrome requiring an operation on my legs, skin grafts on my legs, and my neck required an operation to be stabilised.
“I had a tracheostomy fitted to allow me to be ventilated and a cage was fitted to my pelvis.
“I was kept in an induced coma for the first three days.
“I went on to spent 16 months in different hospitals in Harrogate, Leeds and Sheffield.

“The doctors and nurses were all fantastic and I will never forget the amazing support of my parents and my family and friends.
“But I remember all the conversations which used to go on round my bedside, one of which was that I would never breathe again for myself.
“I made it my focus to prove everyone wrong.

“In November 2009 I moved back into my parents’ home. In October 2013 I finally moved into my own, purpose-built home.
“The reality is that I need two carers around me all the time. I will always be in a wheelchair.
“When I go to bed or am upstairs I have to have a baby monitor by my side at all times because of the risk of really bad spasms and terrible bed sores.

“I accepted what I see as my new life quite quickly. It’s not easy but I socialise as much as I can and I try to be independent. Things like Facebook are vital to me.
“I still see friends and I still go out shopping and the cinema and restaurants and rock concerts.
“When I do my road safety talks with youngsters, I believe they respond best when I am open and honest.

“Kids can sometimes push each other in the street for fun or mess about on scooters.
“A lot of them are engrossed on their mobile phones, even the little ones at primary schools.
“I point out what can happen if you don’t watch what you are doing near roads.

“The feedback I get is amazing, not just from the children but sometimes from their parents.
“I like them to ask me questions at my talks and I’m happy to answer anything.

“The best question I have had so far is one youngster who asked me if in my dreams I can still walk.
“My life will never be the same again but if my story prevents even one person from experiencing what I have been through, then talking about life and road safety will have been worthwhile."