Brain-injured Angela hopes new career and charity work will inspire others
Angela Ord (45), of Maryhill Close in Treeton, suffered a brain haemorrhage when she was 33.
But she said that rather than buckling under the strain, she has been inspired to get the most out of life.
Angela said she hoped her experience would help others cope with a serious medical condition.
Her father collapsed suddenly and died after suffering a bleed on the brain when she was just eight, although tests showed her own bleed was coincidental rather than hereditary.
Angela, who was living in the North East when she became ill, said that it took medics ten days to diagnose what had happened to her, during which time she suffered headaches and projectile vomiting, as well as losing a stone in weight.
She said: “It was like a vice grip on my head, like my temples were trying to explode. It was like something was trying to get out.
“When I was vomiting it was so powerful it was like something out of a movie.
“I woke up to see a consultant looking in my eyes and saying I needed an emergency operation.
“I was told I was lucky to be alive.”
Angela said one of her most vivid memories is of her then five-year-old son Toby crying and rubbing her back to try and help her while she was ill.
After her diagnosis, Angela was in hospital for a month on high dependency care where she would sleep for 22 hours a day.
But despite her trauma, the paramedic refused to let it negatively effect her life.
She said: “I don’t think people should feel sorry for themselves.
“In the moment when it happens it’s very difficult not to be frightened but you have got to move forward.”
Angela was in the Army for nine years before becoming a control room operator for Northumbria Police.
But since her brain haemorrhage, she has gained a diploma in adult nursing, qualified as a paramedic and is now coming to the end of an honours degree in Health and Social Care at York University — all this alongside raising her son Toby for the last nine years and working full-time.
It was while appearing on BBC TV financial advice show Right On The Money that she met money expert Simon Read who she said made her realise she could use her experience to benefit others.
Angela said: “We spent a lot of time talking. He said: ‘You’re an inspiration with what you have achieved so why not go and help other people?’”
Angela is now raising the minimum of £3,700 she needs to go on a fund-raising trip up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, probably next September.
She has raised cash through bag-packing — Angela will be at Morrisons in Catcliffe on December 28 — and donations, alongside getting fit ready for the big ascent, which will take her through five different climatic zones as she heads for the 4,900 metre peak.
Angela has already put her best foot forward by climbing Snowdon and has joined Rotherham Metro Ramblers and a Sheffield gym.
She is raising money specifically for the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT).
Angela’s 16-year-old son Toby, who is studying at Thomas Rotherham College and considering a career in the Navy , said he was proud of his mum’s efforts to help others.
He said: “Since she was ill she has always wanted to help with head injury charities because it’s quite close to her.
“She makes me want to help. If she does something I want to be there to help her. It’s makes me think I could do something like that.”
* To donate to Angela, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/angelaord-kilimanjaro or text ANGO71 £10 (or the amount of donation you wish to give) to 70070.