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‘I am living proof it does work:’ Woman who suffered brain damage bouncing back with challenge

PUBLISHED: 14:35 20 November 2018

Zara Dyer preparing for the challenge of completing three million steps by walking the length of the country, Pictures: Mick Howes

Zara Dyer preparing for the challenge of completing three million steps by walking the length of the country, Pictures: Mick Howes

Archant

It is a daunting challenge, but one that a determined Lowestoft woman is intent on completing.

Zara Dyer and her boyfriend Ian Brown preparing for the challenge of completing three million steps by walking the length of the country. Pictures: Mick HowesZara Dyer and her boyfriend Ian Brown preparing for the challenge of completing three million steps by walking the length of the country. Pictures: Mick Howes

Just over two years ago Zara Dyer was fighting for her life after suffering serious brain injuries in a horrific car crash. Now, after making a remarkable recovery, Miss Dyer is aiming to help others by launching a new charity that is supporting brain injury recovery.

It comes as she prepares for an epic challenge – to walk from John O’Groats to Lands End in May next year for around three-and-a-half months.

Miss Dyer suffered a seizure while driving a car in Grand Cayman – where she was working as a scuba diving instructor – which caused her to collide with a wall and resulted in the brain damage.

The injuries – which included a broken neck, complete paralysis on her right hand side and six bleeds on the brain – were so severe that her family were warned that they should fly out to see her immediately.

The 3 Million Steps charity is supporting brain injury recovery. Picture: 3 Million StepsThe 3 Million Steps charity is supporting brain injury recovery. Picture: 3 Million Steps

But after undergoing months of intensive rehabilitation and having had a successful operation on both eyes to correct her rotational double vision, Miss Dyer has made a major recovery.

The operation on her eyes has helped Miss Dyer’s balance as she can walk greater distances – meaning that after registering the 3 Million Steps charity with her boyfriend Ian Brown, the couple will be able to raise funds during the walk for those needing brain rehabilitation.

With the aim of completing an average of 10 miles per day, they hope to conclude the walk on September 3, 2019, which will be three years since the accident.

To highlight the new charity, the couple are holding a fundraising event next month. Miss Dyer said: “We are now a registered charity keen to help people in their recovery and we have a launch event at the Kirkley Centre on December 15, from noon until 3pm. Anyone can come along and find out more, with a santa’s grotto, information stalls, cake stall, raffle and free entry.

“I have used this challenge to not only keep my recovery going but also to show its not over when the NHS funding finishes – its a very long process but

I am living proof it does work.”

Mr Brown said: “Logistically, everything is slowy starting to fall into place with the walk but we still have a way to go yet. Any firms or companies who would like to get involved to help with equipment or support please get in touch via 3millionsteps.org

3 Million Steps charity

With the charity supporting the recovery from acquired brain injury – including stroke, brain tumours, seizures, hypoxia and traumatic brain injuries through accidents – Miss Dyer said: “The main part is we want to raise money for people so they have better access to the equipment to help with their rehabilitation.

“We would like the charity to support people in brain rehabilitation but also their friends and family who travel and stay with them. Funds raised will provide early local access to specialist equipment for sufferers of brain injury thus improving their standard of life.

“For the walk itself, while we have got people asking about joining at certain points, for those that can’t make it we would like to get the community involved – so if they want to do their bit, we are calling on people to get sponsored and use a pedometer to log a daily amount of steps so that over time they do their three million steps as well.”

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