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In 2005, Darren had a car crash which resulted in a serious brain injury. Darren was in a coma for six months, receiving life support. He went on to spend the next 18 months undergoing rehabilitation in Sheffield.
Darren said: “I wasn’t wearing a seat belt which threw me round the car when I had the crash. It was kind of a blessing; if I had had a seatbelt on, I would have been crushed and stuck in the front of the car. When I finally recovered and came out of hospital, I was a little stuck – life wasn’t really the same.”
Darren returned to his home town of Hull and began working in an elderly care home, carrying out activities with residents. As he began integrating himself back into the community, Darren’s confidence began to soar. Life at the nursing home was quiet and he felt he had done all he could to make a difference.
In 2015, Darren began volunteering at Havenmere after learning the care home provides specialist care to adults with various complex needs – similar to those Darren acquired himself. Darren said: “It was eye opening for me – to see others in a similar situation I had been in, and being able to provide similar to help as to that I received in hospital. I even came across two friends I made while I was in hospital – it turns out they are service users at Havenmere!”
Over the years, Darren has become more independent and does not suffer with the same pain and tiredness as he once did. His condition has improved so much, home manager Diane Howden, has even offered Darren a part-time job at Havenmere.
Diane said: “Darren has become a massive part of Havenmere, and it’s been so amazing to see how he has rehabilitated, but also how he works with our service users on their goals. He has become a big part of the activities team here, and we all felt it was time he joined us on a more permanent basis.”
Darren added: “It’s just so amazing being at Havenmere – before when I was volunteering it was fun, but now I’m able to properly work again it is even better. I can work the hours I want, I have great relationships with everyone here and they couldn’t be more understanding of my condition. Havenmere is part of my family now and working here makes me feel so fulfilled.”
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