‘My turn to give back’

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NICHOLA Kingsley knows a thing or two about hard work. And the 32-year-old, of Whitegate Drive, Blackpool, knows about despair.

She knows about feeling helpless and she knows about the importance of support, positive thinking, family and determination.

Nichola is hoping her inspirational story and her tough experiences over the last five years will help her to help others.

Five years ago, she was left in a coma after suffering a brain seizure while on holiday in Thailand, and is due to soon start work volunteering at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

She will be assisting The Vic’s voluntary services and community engagement officer, as she wants to give something back to thank all those who have helped and supported her.

She said: “The most important thing in life, to get you through everything, whatever problem you have, whether it be mental or a disability, is support.

“I’ve had great support, from my family, from my dad and from the De Vere Village gym in Blackpool, where I’m a member.

“After three years of going to the gym to get my muscles and my strength back, I can walk on my own indoors, cook, clean, dress, have a bath on my own.

“It’s been hard work, but I’ve had such brilliant support and now I live my life as best as I can with my disability.

“At the gym, the staff and members keep me going, they always ask me how I am, they’re like family.

“Now I want it to be my turn to support others, to give back. I want to help those who need it and give back support at the place which saved me – Blackpool Victoria Hospital.”

Nichola – once a top saleswoman – had to learn to walk and talk again, after spending two years in hospital following her collapse while on holiday.

She had battled an eating disorder for years and the problem was caused by her failing to eat properly. Her issues with food had begun when she was 14 and was being picked on at school.

She is still working on her strength and physical fitness, but is determined to use her skills and experience to help others.

Her role will involve helping to organise various events, including coffee mornings and trips for volunteers and helping to plan an annual celebration and thank you event for all the hospital’s volunteers, to take place in April.

Nichola said: “I am doing this work to help give back what the NHS has given to me.

“The doctors and nurses saved me, they supported and helped me with my recovery.

“I know how hard it is for patients and staff.

If I can help just one person or make one person happy, then that is a victory to me.

“That’s my goal.”