A mother and daughter from Lewes who dedicated the past 20 years of their lives to caring for their son and brother respectively following his life-changing brain injury have won a national award.
Gwen and Natalie Milham, from Lewes, were jointly crowned Carer of the Year at the Headway Annual Awards ceremony held at The Dorchester Hotel, in London, on Friday .
The awards ceremony was organised by brain injury association Headway to celebrate the inspirational achievements of survivors of brain injury and their carers in the face of adversity.
Gwen and Natalie were presented with their award by double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell, who is vice president of the charity, in recognition of their devotion and enduring support of Nathan, who is Gwen’s son and Natalie’s brother.
Headway chief executive Peter McCabe said: “Gwen and Natalie have shown incredible devotion to Nathan. They have, selflessly, cast aside their own ambitions and lives to devote their energies to caring for him and giving him the best possible chance of a life after brain injury.
“The courage and unwavering support Gwen and Natalie have given to Nathan, battling through some extremely difficult times along the way, is outstanding.
“Even today, both women work tirelessly to put Nathan’s needs before their own, and the improvements he has made – and continues to make – after his brain injury have largely been a result of Gwen and Natalie’s enduring efforts.
“Together, Gwen and Natalie have helped Nathan rebuild a life after brain injury that is filled with love, laughter and fun. They are worthy winners of this award.”
In July 1996, 17-year-old Nathan was on his way to meet Natalie when he was hit by a car and suffered a severe brain injury.
The then 17-year-old was rushed to the Royal Free Hospital in London but, tragically, Nathan developed a brain aneurysm and spent almost a year in a coma.
He was eventually strong enough to return home but his mum Gwen became his primary carer helping him with everything from washing to eating.