New year, new hopes as determined Zara Dyer continues to make 'amazing' recovery
PUBLISHED: 10:42 29 December 2017
Archant © 2017
The bravery and determination of a Lowestoft woman has been hailed as she continues her recovery from life threatening injuries.
In September last year, Zara Dyer suffered serious brain injuries following a car crash in Grand Cayman where she was working as a scuba diving instructor. The injuries were so severe that her family were warned that they should fly out to see her immediately.
But now, after making major progress and taking great strides in her recovery back in Lowestoft, the 31-year-old is looking ahead to the New Year.
Her rapid recovery continues to gather pace – as Miss Dyer is now out of her wheelchair, is walking with sticks, back swimming in the pool and within the past two weeks she has been able to go snorkelling once more.
Having undergone nine months of intensive treatment, Miss Dyer said: “I think its been probably my hardest year I have ever had, but because of that it has been the most I’ve accomplished. I love the water and the thing about being back in the water is it gives you your independence back, which gives you a lift.”
Her boyfriend Ian Brown said: “Compared to where she was after the accident, paralysed on the right hand side of her body to where she is now, it is amazing. To receive a nomination for the (Stars of Lowestoft and Waveney) outstanding bravery of the year award, that recognition when you look back to where she was and to where she could be in a wheelchair for rest of life – yet through Zara’s determination we are here. She has not let it beat her and this attitude has ensured where she is now.”
Miss Dyer has recently completed NHS treatment with the Livability Icanho Christian Charity in Bungay, with sessions including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. After the NHS funding ran out in September, her rehabilitation is continuing with regular walks, physio, swimming sessions, strengthening and conditioning sessions in the gym as well as trying complementary therapies.
Mr Brown said: “Since the funding ran out any sort of therapies and gym work we have had has been with the funds very kindly donated from the JustGiving page and local community. Without that generosity back then and now, Zara would not be where she is. The phenomenal generosity of everyone in those very difficult times and all the good wishes, it is amazing.”
As Miss Dyer continues her rehabilitation, her next operation on January 11 will involve a rare procedure on her eyes.
Her boyfriend Mr Brown said: “Zara is working through a programme the physio has given her with regular walks to build up strength.
“Her right hand side is a lot better now and Zara’s speech has really come on. A lot of the hard work has been achieved and one of the main things was getting mobile and out of the wheelchair.
“Zara has done very, very well, but she still suffers with eye problems – so the next big thing is to have operations on both eyes to correct the rotational double vision she has got.”
Miss Dyer added: “The operation will hopefully help with my balance and walking.
“To get to the point where I have 3D vision again I think it would be really cool.”
Miss Dyer had been working on a large catamaran on the Cayman Islands as chief of the crew and a scuba diving instructor when she suffered a seizure while driving and crashed into a wall close to her home.
It resulted in serious brain trauma injuries along with a fractured neck and shoulder, paralysis on the right side of her body, difficulty with her sight, communication and swallowing and various other injuries.
She was transferred by a special aircraft to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida, USA, where she stayed in the trauma and intensive care unit for two days.
Miss Dyer spent a month receiving treatment in the US hospital with her parents and boyfriend by her side, before she could return home.
But after the “amazing” generosity of so many people, a family campaign raised the money needed to bring Miss Dyer back to Lowestoft in time for Christmas last year.
■ Donations towards her aftercare are still gratefully received and can be paid at Barclays Bank to Zara’s Rehabilitation Fund, or cheques payable to Zara’s Rehabilitation Fund can be sent to 20 Avocet Close, Lowestoft, NR33 8PU.