CRASH SURVIVOR BECOMES CHARITY AMBASSADOR
Twenty-one-year-old, Amber Smyth from Downpatrick, who is a road traffic accident survivor, is lending a hand to TORC (Trauma and Orthopaedics Research Charity), in gratitude of the life changing treatment she received, enabling her to make a full recovery from horrific injuries she sustained in an accident last winter.
The bubbly university student spent almost a week in ICU before being moved to a Major Trauma Ward at the Royal Victoria Hospital, having been airlifted from the crash scene by the Air Ambulance.
Amber says: “It was a terrible time for my family. Due to COVID-19 regulations I was only permitted one visit at the hospital per week from the same person so I literally had to choose between my parents! Thankfully the trauma team at the hospital pushed really hard to get me home before Christmas and although I was still in need of round the clock care, they provided me with a hospital bed to aid my recovery in the comfort of my own home.
“I realise now how precious things I took for granted before the accident including walking unaided, getting a shower, time with friends and family or even studying and attending university are. The surgical teams and healthcare professionals in the hospital and post discharge, along with the care of my family, really assisted in providing a better outcome than was first expected for me.”
Since the start of the year, Amber has been undertaking intensive physiotherapy and hydrotherapy to assist with her rehabilitation in being able to live life to the full again and she says that’s the reason she decided to get involved with TORC, as she is so grateful for the physio sessions in her journey to recovery. She added: “Words cannot describe how grateful I am to everyone who has been involved in my care and recovery and that’s why it’s an honour for me to become an Ambassador for TORC. I want to give back to the charity in any way that I can to benefit others who find themselves in a similar situation to me, as I understand that without vital research my recovery could have been very different.
“I would say to other patients though that they should be patient! I learned very quickly to take everyday slowly and that my pain needed to be well managed. I kept a patient diary and found it useful for keeping track of pain levels or new symptoms so I didn’t get overwhelmed and it helped me to look back and realise how far I’d come by comparing previous weeks and months. It also helped inform the trauma team on my condition.”
Speaking about Amber’s role as an Ambassador for TORC, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Owen Diamond, said: “As a trustee of TORC, I am excited and grateful to welcome Amber as an Ambassador for the charity as we work to continue to improve the lives of all patients with musculoskeletal injury or disease in Northern Ireland. Amber is a great example of someone who had the determination and a great positive attitude to appreciate that although they may have made her work hard at times, the trauma team were dedicated to helping restore her active life.”
For further information on how you can become involved with or donate to TORC, please visit: www.torcni.org; follow TORC on facebook at: www.facebook.com/torcni; and on twitter at: www.twitter.com/torcni.