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19 October 2023

23-year-old Oliver Stevens takes on walking challenge for Day One

by Callum Campbell

Oliver stevens top image

Oliver Stevens suffered a traumatic brain injury when a car he was a passenger in crashed with a lorry. Now, he has inspired a fundraising ‘army’ to support others with life-changing injuries.

DOTS Oliver Stevens LGI 3

Oliver’s family feared he may never see, walk or talk again when he was left with brain damage after a horrific crash in 2022. Oliver, who was 21 at the time, suffered life-threatening injuries when his friend’s car collided with a 40-tonne articulated lorry.

Oliver was a rear-seat passenger and suffered the worst injuries out of the four people in the car. Oliver’s lungs had collapsed and he wasn’t breathing. They also had to operate to save his eyesight. He was then air lifted to Leeds General Infirmary, where he spent four weeks in a coma while doctors saved his life.

Oliver suffered several fractures to his skull, paralysis down his left side, broke his ribs and collar bone, and damaged his vision and hearing. He spent months at the trauma centre in Leeds and a further nine weeks at Rakehead Rehabilitation Centre at Burnley General Teaching Hospital, closer to his home in Barnoldswick, Lancashire.

While at Leeds Major Trauma Centre, Oliver’s family were supported by charity Day One Trauma Support, which provides a caseworker at the hospital to help people who have suffered catastrophic injuries. Day One provided Oliver’s mum Vicky with emotional and practical support, including counselling, legal advice, and a small grant to cover the immediate cost of travel and parking. Vicky, John, and Andy were commuting 80 miles each day to be by their son’s side.

Day One continued to provide support and advice while they were in Burnley, and remain on hand throughout Oliver’s ongoing recovery. Oliver also continues to be supported by specialist law firm Sintons, which is a legal panel member of Day One.

"Day One Trauma Support were amazing. When I first met their caseworker I just broke down as the enormity of it all dawned on me. I had counselling, which I needed and likely to need in the future. It was really helpful. They helped with legal advice, which was so valuable. I wouldn’t have known where to go. I’ve since learned how important it is to get that legal support as early as possible as it is such a long process.”

Vicky Mara, Oliver’s mum
DOTS Oliver Stevens outside Leeds Major Trauma Centre

Now, 15 months on from the horrific crash, Oliver is walking and talking, but is still recovering at home with support from his mum Vicky Mara, who has had to reduce her working hours. He’s also supported by his stepdad John, his brothers, and his dad Andy. Oliver needs regular physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and psychological support. The left side of his body, especially his face and arm, still suffers from paralysis.

To help with his rehabilitation, and to keep himself motivated, Oliver decided to take on a 180,000-step walking challenge, which is around 85 miles, over 30 days to raise money for Day One. Oliver has been joined by his supportive family and friends to complete the challenge, even inspiring others to join “Oliver’s Army” and walk their own distance to support Day One.

Oliver is due to complete his challenge on Saturday 21 October 2023, where he will be joined by all his family and friends for one last walk. So far, he has raised more than £1,000. We’d like to say a massive thank you to Oliver and everyone who has supported his challenge for raising this incredible total for Day One!

“This has been a huge challenge for me, alongside all my rehabilitation too, but it’s been amazing to get the support and donations for such a worthwhile charity.”

Oliver Stevens
DOTS Oliver Stevens walking challenge with mum Vicky Mara

“Oliver’s story of recovery is truly inspiring. It’s been fantastic to see him back out walking after such horrendous injuries and we’re delighted that he’s completed his challenge, while raising money for Day One. With his help, we can ensure no one is left to rebuild their life on their own following catastrophic injury. A big thank you to Vicky, Oliver and his army of supporters for choosing Day One.”

Kirsty Christmas, Day One Fundraising Manager

You can still donate and support Oliver’s challenge!

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