Reydon woman on charity bike ride for Headway
15:31 31 August 2012
Archant © 2012
Her loved ones were told to prepare for the worst after she suffered two life-threatening brain haemorrhages.
But Justine Collins made a miraculous recovery – and now she is determined to help others in a similar position.
This weekend, the 24-year-old from Reydon is hoping to raise about £2,000 for the head injury charity, Headway, by cycling 40 miles.
It comes seven months after she was forced to leave university and undergo intricate life-saving surgery after suffering two bleeds on her brain just weeks apart.
Speaking about her traumatic ordeal, Justine said she was grateful for the “overwhelming” support she had received throughout her recovery. She said: “On January 10, I collapsed where I was living in Brighton. I had this rotten headache – it was as if someone had shot me through the head.
“I spent three days in bed and then eventually went to accident and emergency. At first, they just wanted to send me home thinking it was just a migrane. Eventually I got admitted to A&E where they gave me a brain scan and discovered I had a bleed on the brain. I was told I would need surgery through my groin.
“My mum drove down from Suffolk, and then my dad drove down later, as well as my boyfriend, so they were all there when I woke up. I ended up spending 10 days in the high dependency ward.
“I then spent the night at home but when we were having an Indian takeaway I collapsed unconscious again. My mum’s a nurse so she got me in the recovery position before the first responder gave me first aid and a paramedic took me to hospital.”
Since then, Justine has undergone two further operations at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and had three mesh pipes inserted into her brain to strengthen the artery and coil the aneurism.
“I found the support I received overwhelming really,” she said. “At the time, everyone sent me messages of support on Facebook. It has been fantastic – everyone has been very generous.
She added: “I feel so lucky. I don’t know what I would have done without my dog and my family.”
A charity coffee morning will be held in Reydon Village Hall tomorrow at 10am, before the cyclists set off on Sunday at 9am, starting and finishing at the Lord Nelson pub in Southwold.
The 40-mile Suffolk Cycle Ride, organised by Justine, will be raising funds for Headway, the national brain injury association, with cyclists of all ages and abilities welcome to join in.
●To sponsor Justine, visit virginmoneygiving.com/suffolkcycleride, or visit www.facebook.com/suffolkcycleride
●To find out more about Headway and its work, visit www.headway.org.uk