At just 4 years old, Alex and her mum, Leila Coleman, were walking to collect her brother and sister from school. As they crossed the road, they were hit by a car. The accident killed Leila on impact and left Alex with life threatening injuries. Alex’s family received the call that shattered their lives and raced to get to London to be with her. Alex was in a coma and her injuries were bad, with gravel burn covering her body, a broken clavicle, and swelling and bleeding of her brain. Her family were told that Alex probably would not make it but that, if she did, she would have severe brain damage and be unlikely to walk, talk, or feed herself again.
After some time in hospital, doctors decided to remove Alex’s breathing tube to see if she could breathe unaided. The first time they tried, Alex did not breathe and the harsh reality that she may not wake-up began to set in. However, the second time the tube was removed, Alex began to breathe unaided, and she kept on breathing. This was her family’s first sign that Alex was fighting silently.
Four weeks after the accident, Alex was air lifted to Alder Hey Hospital where a specialist neuro bed had become available. Soon, Alex began to move her shoulders which doctors interpreted as a seizure and yet, over the following days, she slowly began wiggling her whole body. Soon enough, Alex opened her eyes. Doctors warned her family that this was likely happening because her body was reacting to the brain damage, but Alex proved them wrong. Eventually it became clear that Alex was keeping her eyes open and was taking in her surroundings.
Alex continued to make incredible progress over the following months. Although she could not make any sound to begin with, Alex persevered, first managing grunting sounds and then began making baby noises. At this time, Alex was being fed through a feeding tube and hospital staff estimated that it would take months before she could eat even mashed food. And yet, the next milestone came when Alex manage to eat a bag of crisps. Soon enough, she was eating anything she could get her hands on from family, nurses and even the doctors – she had everyone wrapped around her little finger!
Within a month of first beginning to eat and talk, Alex wanted to be up and about. The doctors were certain that months of muscle rehabilitation would be needed before she would even be able to hold her head up. Clearly, Alex is not the type of person to sit and wait, and she made a firm decision that she would walk again.
14 years on, Alex is standing tall and has beaten all odds. She still struggles daily, both physically and emotionally, but one thing is clear; Alex does not give up. Every day she continues to push herself and inspires everyone around her, amazing friends, family and medical professionals.
Alex trains every week at Active Nation Runcorn with her personal trainer Ann Brindley, and is becoming stronger with each session. Recently she was awarded the Active Nation advancement and achievement trophy for all her hard work at the gym throughout 2017. Ann says: “Alex is truly one of my heroes in life and I am honoured to be her trainer.”
Thank you for your incredible dedication Alex. You are an inspiration to everyone at Active Nation – keep up the hard work!