gail-and-tina

A Gloucester mother who devoted the past 21 years to caring for her daughter after she sustained a life-changing brain injury has been shortlisted for a national award.

Gail Lucas, from Barnwood, in Gloucester, will be recognised at an annual awards ceremony organised by Headway – the brain injury association, as one of just three people from across the UK in the running for the title of Carer of the Year, sponsored by SweetTree Home Care Services.

“I’m shocked that I have been chosen as a finalist for such a prestigious award,” said Gail. “I’m not great at receiving praise; I just get on with making sure I provide the best life for my daughter. I do think of Headway as my family though so it is lovely to be nominated by them.”

It was in 1995, when Gail’s 15 year old daughter Tina was involved in a road traffic accident. She sustained a severe traumatic brain injury and was in coma for 14 months before leaving hospital and returning home to live with her mum.

As a result of the accident Tina needs support with all acts of personal care and daily living.  She has quadriplegia with spasticity and ataxia. As well as dysarthria, memory difficulties, and significant cognitive challenges.

In the 21 years following Tina’s injury, Gail has worked selflessly, tirelessly and with great creativity to ensure that Tina’s daily life is stimulating and varied.

She is committed to making sure her daughter’s complex care needs are met without compromise.

Gail has also supported Tina to make a home for herself in a privately rented maisonette with support from live in staff. She manages Tina’s social and activities diary to ensure her weeks include new experiences surrounded by family and friends.

In 2014, Tina had surgery and in 2015 she was in and out of hospital with serious problems with her digestion. Gail is unflagging in the face of these challenges, and navigates the gauntlet of health and social care services with aplomb and a great sense of humour. This year, Gail has been poorly herself, but that has not stopped her from keeping all of Tina’s plates spinning.

Gail was nominated by Ali Hendley, Manager at Headway Gloucestershire.

She said:  “We are inspired by Tina and in absolute awe of Gail. We think of Gail as a force of nature. As a result of her dedication, energy, sheer willpower and love, Tina continues to manage her injury; to make the most of her life today and is always ready for a smile and a laugh with her Headway crew.

“Gail is a seriously selfless, resilient and compassionate woman. We clock it at 21 years so far that she has been utterly committed to helping her daughter and other brain injury survivors – and there are no signs that she’s going to slow down any time soon.”

Each year, Headway Annual Awards celebrates the exceptional efforts of survivors of brain injury and their carers. Gail will discover if she is to be named Carer of the Year at a glittering ceremony at The Dorchester Hotel, in London, on Friday 16, December. Awards for Achiever and Volunteer will also be presented, alongside the Stephen McAleese Outstanding Contribution to Headway Award.

Gloucester News Centre – http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk

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