A YOUNG woman told she would never walk or talk again following a car crash has stunned medics by taking her first steps to collect her degree.
Lauren Thompson spent four weeks in a coma and months in hospital following the crash on the Freckleton by-pass back in 2006.
Her family were told it was likely the 25-year-old, from Wrea Green, would never walk or talk again, but she has now taken her first steps unaided in front of hundreds of people to pick up her degree certificate from the University of Manchester.
Miss Thompson was in the final year of her criminology degree when the crash happened but was determined to return to her studies.
And having defied medical staff by obtaining a 2:1, she wanted to be able to walk on stage to collect her award.
She said: “The doctors said I would never walk or be able to talk again – how wrong were they.
“Graduation was brilliant. I thought ‘imagine everyone’s faces when I walk up and get my award’, but I was shaking and thinking I’m not going to be able to do this.
“I was so nervous because there were hundreds of people, but when they shouted my name I went into auto-pilot and just did it.
“I’m still in shock from it now.”
Despite not being able to read for long periods without a break, Miss Thompson was able to complete all the work for her degree without extensions.
The former Lytham St Annes High pupil has now been accepted for a masters in criminal law and society at the university, which she plans to start in September 2012.
And she hopes her hard work has shown everyone exactly what she’s capable of.
Miss Thompson said: “I think I’ve proved to everyone what I can do. Because of my speech problems that developed from the car crash I speak a bit more slowly and sometimes it’s hard to understand me, and because of that people get the wrong impression that I’m slow and stupid.
“Now I’ve done this hopefully people will have a different opinion of me. My family are really proud of me. I still get frustrated sometimes but the world is my oyster.”
As well as studying for her masters, Miss Thompson now hopes to be able to write a book about her experiences since the crash five years ago.