10 Years of the Trust: Andy McDonald
As part of our 10 Years of the Community Trust campaign, which is celebrating the successes our official charity has achieved over the years, we are sharing stories and interviews from the heart of our local communities.
Here, we look at the story of Andy McDonald, whose life was transformed when he was seriously injured after being hit by a car on his way home in South Wales.
He has been able to return to work with the help of the Community Trust’s Sign Up To Success project.
"I was waiting to cross the road and a car came and knocked me over," Andy says.
Andy needed emergency surgery on a fractured skull and spent 16 days in hospital.
Being discharged was merely the first step on his long road to recovery.
"I spent a lot of time recuperating,” Andy explains.
“I lost a lot of weight because your brain uses a lot of calories. I lost over a stone in a week."
The Swansea City Community Trust played an important part in helping Andy get back to a regular life.
The trust's Sign Up To Success programme at Morriston Hospital, in Swansea, provides adults with brain injuries with physical and educational activities as well as support to give them the ability and confidence to return to work.
"We're hoping to develop positive health behaviours and we also look at return-to-work skills," explains occupational therapist Helen Hughes, who works on the programme.
"A lot of the people can't go back to their previous jobs, but everybody needs to have a purpose in life and this is designed to help them move on."
The scheme is run together with the traumatic brain injury service and is funded by the Premier League/BT Disability Fund.
By putting people in similar situations together, they can share their problems and provide solutions for one another.
"People get a lot of frustrations and they don't know who to go and speak to," Andy says.
"In these groups, we can all be ourselves – have a laugh, shout – and we understand each other."
Not only has he returned to work as a nurse, Andy is also still involved with the Sign Up To Success programme and helps others who are in the same position as he was.
"I want to inspire," he says.
"When I speak with patients, they say: 'I'm going for a big operation, but you've been through a lot, and hopefully I'll come out the same as you’."
Look out for more success stories and interviews in the run-up to the Community Trust’s 10th Anniversary in November.