Brave Steven Shortlisted For Top Achiever Award
Friday 4th December 2015 @ 13:39 by Lee Wild
Ashton News

A determined Ashton man who fought to rebuild his life after a car accident left him with a devastating brain injury has been shortlisted for a national award.

Steven Lomas, 44, will be recognised for his personal achievements at an annual awards ceremony organised by Headway – the brain injury association – as one of just three finalists from across the UK in the running for the title of Alex Richardson Achiever of the Year.

The award is sponsored by Slater and Gordon the Solicitors firm.

The nomination comes just weeks after Steven, whose career and first marriage broke down after he sustained the injury in 2004, was awarded a First Class (BSc Honours) degree in Professional Broadcast Techniques from the University of Salford.

Before his head injury, Steven had a career as a retail manager for ASDA, living in a semi-detached house in Ashton where he was born.

But on February 7, 2004, his life changed forever when he was involved in the car crash, colliding with a tree on his way home from shopping in Manchester city centre.

He had to be cut from the wreckage by firefighters and was rushed to North Manchester General Hospital with severe head injuries and a life-changing traumatic brain injury.

Five hours after arriving at the hospital, it became apparent that Steven required specialist neurological treatment and he was taken to Salford Royal Hospital where doctors placed him in a medically induced coma for six weeks.

Steven’s family and friends were told to expect the worst and warned that, if he regained consciousness, there was no way of predicting what lasting effects his traumatic brain injury would cause.

Even when Steven was well enough to return home from hospital, he struggled with daily tasks he had once taken for granted.

He also suffered from an impaired sense of smell and lost hearing completely in his left ear.
Sadly, Steven’s brain injury placed enormous pressure upon Steven’s daily routine and relationships and he was eventually forced to move into his mother’s home.

The injury meant he had to eventually resign from his job and Steven began to struggle with depression.

It was not until 2005 when occupational psychologist and friend Suzanne Guest, from Wigan, introduced him to Headway Stockport and South Manchester, a charity which supports families in the North West affected by brain injury, that he began to rebuild his life.

With the support of the charity, Steven began five years of education in September 2010, studying for four years at Manchester College before completing a one-year media course at the University of Salford, Media City Campus.

This year the hard work and determination finally paid off as he received a First Class BSc Honours degree in Professional Broadcast Techniques.

He produced a film about the late television presenter Tony Wilson for his Foundation Degree in Music Production, which scored more than 8,000 hits on YouTube.

This year, Steven, who now lives in Eccles with his wife Joanne and their dog Zena, decided to put his media skills to the test and turn the camera on himself to share his
story and raise awareness of traumatic brain injury.

Filming for the project, called Re-cognition, took place at the Headway charity shop in Sale, where Steven now volunteers once a week, and at The Heaton’s Centre, in Stockport, where the local Headway group’s drop-in session is held fortnightly on a Wednesday.

“I am absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award,” said Steven.

“It only took one moment, one head injury, for my life’s direction to be changed by brain injury.

“The support I received from Headway Stockport and South Manchester has turned my life around and I’m a stronger person now.

“I just hope my film and volunteering will help to raise awareness of the charity on a local and national level.”

“Steven is a shining example of how much can be achieved even 12 years on after sustaining a brain injury,” said Suzanne, who is now a committee member for Headway Stockport and South Manchester.

Steven will discover if he is to be named Alex Richardson Achiever of the Year at a glittering ceremony at The Dorchester Hotel, in London, on Friday, December 11.

You can watch Steven’s Re-Cognition video on YouTube.