Nicolene’s life took an unforeseen turn in 2009 when a car accident left her with a severe brain injury. From a broken neck to a lengthy coma, her path to recovery seemed insurmountable. However, with unwavering determination, she embarked on a remarkable journey of relearning the simplest of tasks. 


Headway Gauteng played a pivotal role in Nicolene’s progress. Through her own words, she shares the profound impact of Headway’s assistance, not only on her own rehabilitation but also on her family’s well-being during challenging times. Nicolene’s story is a testament to the power of resilience and the transformative potential of unwavering support.

In her own words: Nicolene’s journey with brain injury

‘I got my brain injury in 2009 in a car accident. I broke my neck, fell into a 43 day coma and had to start all over after waking up from that. I had to relearn basically everything — breathing on my own, sitting by myself, standing and then, finally, taking that first step… again. 


‘Having a brain injury is like experiencing everything again for the first time, although some things, like the walking, I had to do again for a second time, but actually a first. Let me give you another example, going on a rollercoaster. After going on one the first time since my accident, it felt like something I have never experienced before. It’s like this with literally everything, – I guess it’s because my brain now has to make new pathways for everything. 


‘Anyway, back to what I was saying, Headway was where I hadthe most crucial first experiences after my brain injury. If it wasn’t, firstly for the grace of GD and, secondly for Headway and the amazing family that comes with it, I wouldn’t have come as far as I have to date. 


‘The quality of therapy is immeasurable, the staff and volunteers are priceless. The love for the attendees, the brain injured, is the driving force of this NGO. Not only did Headway help me, and still does, but they have also supported my family during very trying times. 


‘My mom told me that when I was in my coma they went to a Headway Friendship Circle and met people in similar situations and got to speak about their troubles. The things I told you before about the pathways etc, are just the tip of what I learnt at Headway. Headway has been in my brain and in my blood since my accident. The best part of all of this, is that Headway is and will always be in my heart.’