Brush with death inspires teen to give back to those who saved her

Tuesday July 5, 2011

Gracie Nichols’ brush with death has inspired her pursue a career in health and make a generous donation to those who helped save her life.

The 18-year-old, with the help of her twin sister Annabelle, today donated $5000 to Christchurch Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and $5000 to St John.

In 2008 Gracie spent six days fighting for her life in ICU after she fell into the path of an oncoming car while cycling with her father Paul, trapping her under the vehicle.

Paul and onlookers managed to free Gracie but she sustained serious injuries to the left side of her petite body.

St John Ambulance rushed her to Christchurch Hospital’s emergency department where she was later transferred to the Intensive Care Unit.

Gracie says she owes her recovery to the ICU team and St John, which is why she and Annabelle decided to start a road safety awareness campaign to raise funds for the organisations that helped save her life.

The sisters created a car bumper sticker with a simple message: ‘1 Bike, 1 Car, 1 Second Watch Out For Cyclists’. About 6000 of those stickers had been handed out in exchange for a gold coin donation.

Intensive Care Specialist David Knight says the Nichols’ donation was generous and will go towards paying for communication equipment, such as a laptop and a head sensor that works as an alternative to a hand mouse to control the computer, which patients will be able to use to communicate with family and friends back home via the internet.

“We are very grateful as it will make a big difference,” Dr Knight says.

“We get a lot of overseas patients who find it difficult to communicate and keep in touch with their relatives back home in their own country. This money will be used to purchase the technology that allows them to do that.”

Meanwhile, Gracie is now in her first year of University at the University of Otago where she is studying health sciences with the aim of becoming a doctor.​

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