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Heading for success
From hod-carrier to head injury in the blink of an eye... Lee Pearce was left in a coma after a hammer attack. Here he tells us about his efforts to get his life back on track.
Thirteen years ago, Lee Pearce played the good Samaritan and it ended up changing his life for ever.
Coming to the rescue of a woman in trouble, Lee was turned on by three men, his skull was smashed by a hammer and he was left in a coma.
Lee raising money and awareness
When he woke up, Lee faced a further three-and-a-half months in the hospital during which time he had to learn to read and write almost from scratch. He had retained some of these skills, but all he could manage were very basic books - it was as though he had regressed to childhood.
"I recognised the fact that I couldn't read or write - and realising that there was such a thing as reading and writing indicated that I was part-way towards recovery," explains Lee.
"I had to start reading children's books. I initially picked up an adult reading book, then I instantly closed it because it frightened the life out of me. I couldn't read a word, so I got a children's book - and it would take me an hour to read eight or nine words. And that would knock me out for eight hours because of the intensity and the concentration that it takes to actually learn to read."
He spent further time at the Papworth Trust, which helps people with a variety of disabilities return to independent living and employment. Lee describes his time there as "instrumental in my recovery".
Thirteen years after the attack, 47-year-old Lee is now married and has two young children. Twice a week he attends Headway House in Cambridge - an organisation which provides support for people with brain injuries. Headway, says Lee, has played a fundamental role in his rehabilitation, and he describes his carers as "absolute diamonds".
It's taken him a while, and it's been one heck of a struggle, but Lee finally feels able to return to work. And he's ambitious about his future. "I want to be an outdoor survival instructor but obviously that takes a lot of funding if I want to re-train as that."
So, where's the funding going to come from? Well, Lee has already made a good start to his mammoth money-raising quest. As part of Brain Injury Awareness Week, he's been raising both money and awareness by pushing his body and stamina to the limits.
In one hour, Lee completed an unbelievable 600 sit-ups and 600 press-ups under the supervision of his gym instructors - and someone who could count very quickly. Initially Lee had hoped to manage 400 of each in an hour, but he kept on going and completed a total of 1,200 exercises - with eight seconds to spare!
Having achieved that, Lee is more than a little upbeat about his future: "I've got absolute confidence in myself. I've gone through a lot over the past few years and it does teach you - never say, 'I can't'."
You can listen to Lee talking to BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's Andie Harper by clicking the link below:
And you can find out more about Lee and the inspirational work of Headway Cambridgeshire by visiting their website.
last updated: 04/04/2008 at 16:54
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