Kate’s brush with success after brain injury

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A DETERMINED woman has amazed her family and friends by teaching herself to paint with her left hand after a devastating brain haemorrhage.

Kate Zaborniak nearly died after she suffered sudden bleeding in her brain six years ago when she was living in her native Poland.

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She was just 39 and the haemorrhage paralysed the right side of her body and affected her speech.

But during her extensive rehabilitation, Kate, who now lives in Peterlee, discovered a passion for painting.

In just two years she has racked up around 25 stunning works of art by painting with her “good” left hand.

The results have amazed her friends and relatives as Kate had never been interested in painting before.

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Kate, 46, said: “It was difficult in the beginning. I got tired very quickly.

“I feel relaxed when I paint and feel I am able to express what I want to.”

Kate, her husband Robert, 46, and children Peter, 16, and Agnes, 25, moved to England in 2005 to aid her rehabilitation.

After a stay in Cumbria, the family settled in Peterlee around two years ago.

Many of Kate’s paintings are inspired by visions she saw during her near-death experience.

Others, including animals, are copied from pictures in newspapers.

Last month, her paintings were featured alongside other artists in an exhibition in Bishop Auckland.

For the last 18 months Kate has received support from the Clarke Lister Foundation and is a member of its weekly social group.

The Thursday Club meets at Oakerside Park Community Centre, in Peterlee, where people who have overcome strokes or brain haemorrhages enjoy various social activities, including art.

Kate, from the Oakerside Park area, said: “It’s a good friendly group. We’re like a family.”

Carole Lister founded the charity in memory of her son, Clarke, who died from a brain haemorrhage when he was only 10.

She said: “I was amazed when I saw Kate’s paintings.

“She has made a fantastic recovery to be able to do this.

“We always promote there is life after a stroke or brain haemorrhage and Kate is certainly proof of that.

“She’s an inspiration to other people.”

Kate, who previously worked as a teacher in Poland, also re-sat and passed her driving test in a specially-adapted car.

She needed brain surgery to stop the bleeding and has no memory of the first 10 days after the attack.

Kate said: “My husband was so worried and when I did come round I just didn’t know how I was going to be able to do anything.

“I lost all feeling down my right-hand side.

“Before I was a very energetic and full of life woman.

“I feel like I’m getting some of that back now.”

l SEE more of Kate’s amazing pictures in Through the Lens on Pages 32 and 33.