Tindy Chaggar: How I survived a massive brain injury

Tindy Chaggar Image copyright Tindy Chaggar
Image caption Tindy Chaggar changed her life following her accident and is now a presenter and actress

A woman who suffered a stroke and brain haemorrhage after being hit by a police van on a 999 call says her recovery took years and it still affects her.

Tindy Chaggar, from Leicester, was training to be a lawyer in London, in 2003, when the accident happened, leaving her with multiple injuries.

Tindy, an ambassador for the charity Headway, said the massive brain injury knocked her confidence.

She has been raising awareness for the charity about brain injuries.

Tindy, who is now an actress and presenter, was 27 years old and fulfilling her dream of being a lawyer when she was hit by the police van.

"All I remember is waking up in hospital thinking it was my birthday because everyone I loved was around me," she said.

Image copyright Tindy Chaggar
Image caption Ms Chaggar (red top) surrounded by family in 2003

"It took a while for it to sink in. I had numerous injuries, with the brain I had a stroke, I had a haemorrhage.

"I had third nerve palsy in my eye... lots of things happened to the brain, it was badly shaken."

She was in hospital for about four months and thought she could get straight back to work, but it took about six years to recover.

"I found that there were little things I found very difficult, organisation, planning to go somewhere, packing my things, I needed help with literally everything," she said.

"I had intended to return to law. I thought at some future point I might like to go to drama school so that was in the future. That was a turning point in my life, I realised, 'I've got to make my life now'".

Image copyright Tindy Chaggar
Image caption Tindy Chaggar (far left) with family before the accident in 2003

Since then she has started working towards making her pre-accident dreams of stardom a reality.

She began working on Radio Fox, which broadcasts to hospitals in Leicester, ten years ago and now presents the afternoon show as Tindy C.

Her work was rewarded with a bronze prize in the Best Female Presenter category at last year's National Hospital Radio Awards.

She has also starred in a number of short films and appeared as an extra in BBC One sitcom Citizen Khan.

Along the way she's been supported by Headway, which has organised a Hats for Headway Day, to raise money for brain injury survivors.

She said: "When I was in hospital I was told I'd be going to Headway and my initial reaction was 'do they think I'm crazy? I don't want to go to Headway.'

"But when I went in, that could not have been further from the truth. There were so many different people from so many walks of life, all brought together because they've had some sort type traumatic head injury.

Image caption Dr Declan McNicholl and Tindy Chaggar wearing their "silly hats" for Hats for Headway Day

"It was amazing for me - it really helped set me up for the rest of everything and thanks to their help I'm able to manage my time and so forth a lot better.

"I still have some limitations, as I like to call them, but I work around them and Headway do help and guide you."

"They introduced me to a number of things, various craft-making things that help with hand/eye co-ordination and were so supportive generally."

Dr Declan McNicholl, a trustee of Headway in Leicestershire, called Tindy's recovery "amazing".

He said: "She's quite a resourceful individual who's come through a very significant journey."

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