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Thursday, 18 September 2014

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Carlisle man shows true grit to fight back from accident

A determined gas worker is set to return to work a year after nearly losing his life in a horror smash.

Steven Higgins was critic-ally injured in the A66 crash near Penrith last February. He suffered internal bleeding, a broken pelvis and collar bone, and severe brain trauma.

Steven, of Myddleton Street, Carlisle, was kept in a medically-induced coma while he was treated following the crash. He spent a fortnight in intensive care. Surgeons had to operate on his shattered hip.

But the plucky 25-year-old has made an amazing recovery and is due to undergo one last operation on his shoulder this month.

He will then be able to return to work at Northern Gas Networks (NGN), who have supported him throughout his recovery.

Steven said: “I feel like I’m getting there but I’m still a long way off 100 per cent.

“It has been a long road and slow going but I’m happy and coming to terms with the limited things I can do.

“The doctors still hope I will make a complete recovery and I’ve got one more operation before I can go back to work.”

The rugby fan has also set his sights on turning out as a fly half for Carlisle RFC in a year’s time.

He has been undergoing regular physiotherapy and hopes to be able to lift weights again and build up his fitness after the final operation.

Steven was a passenger in a van taking him to work when the crash happened near the Rheged Centre on Valentine’s Day.

Afterwards he was stabilised and flown by air ambulance to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.

It came as a bitter blow to Steven’s family following the sudden death of his father and fellow rugby fanatic Raymond who suffered a fatal heart attack in 2009 aged just 46.

But Steven showed remarkable spirit to regain consciousness and three months after the accident he was transferred from James Cook to Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary before being able to return home.

Meanwhile, he has been boosted by his work pals who completed a gruelling four-day, 90-mile walk to raise cash for the Great North Air Ambulance and the South Tees Hospitals Charity.

The team set off from Melrose in Scotland and trekked to Steven’s home in Carlisle via Northumbria.

He said: “I was absolutely ecstatic and they have done a lot better than expected, they were shattered when they got back.

“I’m over the moon with them.”

His mum Tracey added: “He had only been employed with them around six months so it’s unbelievable and really nice one year later that they are raising money.”

Howard Forster from NGN was happy to organise the event to say thank you for Steven’s treatment.

“Last year, thanks to the fantastic support of colleagues, we raised more than £4,000 for the Higgins family as well as the organisations that helped Steve,” he added.

Suzi Campbell from the South Tees Hospitals Charity said: “We much appreciate this helping hand and the money raised will benefit future patients in critical care at The James Cook University Hospital.”

To donate to the team go to www.justgiving.com/JamesCookHospitalStevenHiggins or www.justgiving.com/GreatNorthAirAmbulanceStevenHiggins.

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