An Eastbourne man who put his own life on hold to provide vital care and support to his partner following a life-changing brain injury attended a Carer of the Year award ceremony.
Ian Macintyre, of Bexhill Road, was one of only three people from across the UK to be named as finalist in the Carer of the Year category of an annual awards programme run by brain injury charity Headway.
The 47-year-old did not win the top prize, but he received a certificate from Olympic rower James Cracknell, who is vice-president of Headway and also living with the long-term effects of a brain injury he sustained in 2010.
Ian was nominated by his partner Sharon McKendry. The couple’s life was turned upside down on July 9, 2011, when in the early hours of the morning, Ian found her collapsed at the bottom of their bed. Ian helped her into bed, thinking that she just needed to rest but the next day she began acting erratically and began hallucinating while drifting in and out of consciousness.
She was taken to hospital where a CT scan revealed bruising to the front and back of her brain suggesting she fell forward and hit her head.
When she returned home she needed help with everything, from washing and dressing, to feeding herself. She started to recover but in the November Sharon began to have problems including losing the sight in her left eye and went on to be told the problems were linked to the initial fall which had caused greater injury to the brain than initially thought. She was discharged home and needed more care than before.
Ian said he was ‘touched’ at being a finalist and that Headway Hurstwood Park charity’s outreach team a ‘God-send’.
Partner Sharon said of Ian, “He is my wonder nurse! He has to cope with so much, but he’s always there for me, he’s incredibly patient and he protects me from people who do not understand brain injury.”