A WOMAN has battled back from the brink of death to become a company boss.
Lauren Wallace spent five days in a coma, three months in hospital, three months in a wheelchair and two years in physiotherapy after a road drama exactly 12 years ago.
She was 12-years-old when she was a pedestrian in a road accident. She bounced off the windscreen of a car and landed in the central reservation of the A689 in Hartlepool.
She suffered swelling on the brain, internal bleeding, dislocated shoulder and fractured elbow. The biggest bone in her leg was smashed to pieces.
Doctors told her family she may never wake up - and if she did, there were no guarantees that she would ever be the same again.
They considered drilling into her head when the swelling rose to dangerous levels.
Her parents Ian, now 48, and Julie, 49, took it in turns to keep a constant bedside vigil from 7am each day.
“My mum said she didn’t dare leave because she didn’t know what would be round the corner,” said Lauren.
“They took me straight to Hartlepool General Hospital. They didn’t dare transfer me after that because they didn’t think I would survive the journey.
“It was an awful time for my family,” said Lauren, now 24. But she added: “I’ve come through it. I feel like I’m a miracle.”
Lauren spent the whole of Christmas, New Year and January in hospital. And even after going home, two years of painful physio followed.
Yet there’s only one lasting physical legacy of the whole drama. One leg is more than an inch shorter than the other.
“I was in traction every month and then I needed physio every day,” said Lauren. “My mam and dad did shifts on hospital visits.”
The injuries to her femur were so severe, a triangle of bone had shattered. Surgeons had to clamp her bones together to calcify it.
At first, her leg was more than three inches shorter than the other but because she was so young, the difference shortened as she grew.
Despite it all, she has gone on to become the managing director of Mister Twisters on the Park View Industrial Estate in Hartlepool,
She described how it was the backing of her family that she fought back from her injuries.
“My family were incredible throughout it all encouraging and supporting me to understand I could do anything I put my mind to.
“I know I am very lucky to be here and there is not one day that goes by which I don’t appreciate that.”
The former Manor College of Technology student said: “I joined the team at Mister Twister’s part time whilst I worked my way through Brinkburn College.”
She went on to study at Teesside University and graduated in 2011 with a degree in Coaching Science.
Lauren added: “When the opportunity to be the new owner of Mister Twister arose I had been looking to go onto further study to do the final year needed to become a teacher.
“They say sometimes you get that ‘gut feeling’ – that’s exactly what I got when it came up and I knew from that moment I needed to jump at the opportunity.”
“My parents had heard me coming home for so many years with all of these ideas and plans for Mister Twisters – closely followed by the words ‘if only it was mine’.
“Owning your own business is not something you expect to happen especially not somewhere you have worked for so long or at such a young age.”
Lauren has begun bringing in her own ideas including bringing in a Grandma Twister to introduce home-made recipes.
“My parents have always said ‘as long as you give 100 per cent that’s all we ask’ – and that is exactly what I am going to be doing.”