Lisa Brown, volunteer, Nottingham

3rd June 2005 at 01:00
When Lisa Brown was 17 she caught meningitis. Septicaemia followed, and both her legs had to be amputated below the knee. Initially, she says, she thought her life had ended.

"When I came round I was saying, 'I am never going to be able to walk again. I will never get a boyfriend.' I had been taking driving lessons and I thought I would never pass my test or drive or anything like that. But my family started bringing me in leaflets about what was possible, and I set myself to get it done."

When Lisa returned to Nottingham City Hospital for a prosthetic fitting, she told staff she was happy to volunteer, through the national organisation Community Service Volunteers, to support other amputees. Since then (she is now 20) she has helped many people.

"I've talked to a little girl who was about four, and her mum, and to an older lad, and to a young man of about 22. They tend to ask me what things are difficult and what can I still do. Like, 'Can you still walk about normally, could you still run if you wanted to? How do you manage stairs?"

The little things you take for granted, that you tend to forget. Like bumps and kerbs and paving stones.

"It's nice to be able to tell people that it is possible to get over this.

I walk, I drive, I have a boyfriend. I work in Tesco. Life didn't stop in hospital. It's a terrible thing to happen, but life doesn't end there."

Interviews by Karen Gold

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