By Charlotte Nisbet
A beautiful dancer who doctors thought was left brain dead by a horror crash has made a miraculous recovery after having half her skull rebuilt.
Beth Johnson, 21, was an aspiring professional dancer before a car accident that left her fighting for her life.
Her devastated mum, Lynne, 61, from Broughton, Lincolnshire, was told that brain scans showed no sign of life and was prepared to say her final goodbyes.
But Beth defied doctors and after having the front part of her skull removed and rebuilt, she is finally on the road to recovery after two years in hospital.
The student – who has no memory of the accident – was hit by a car on September 23 2015 and suffered seven skull fractures, a broken eye socket and, collarbone, pelvis as well as a collapsed lung and three slipped discs in her back.
Beth has since relearnt to talk, walk, eat and despite not being able to dance on stage, she is hoping to become a dance teacher.
She is now sharing her story to help inspire others who have been affected by a brain injury.
Beth said: “I have danced from the age of three years old and was training to become a professional dancer at a dance academy before my accident.
“I suffered such a serious head injury that my brain scans showed no activity and my family were told to say their goodbyes.
“Surgeons decided to remove the front part of my skull in an attempt to relieve some of the pressure in my brain, it was my only chance of survival.
“I had my skull rebuilt from a bone match that was flown in from Australia three months later.
“My own skull had decayed too much to reinsert.
“No one thought I’d ever speak again, let alone walk and be studying at college.
“At first I used a type writer style device that would speak for me, it was frustrating as I knew what I wanted to say but I couldn’t speak.
“My recovery is nothing short of a miracle and I’m so thankful to all the doctors and nurses that helped save my life.
“It has been a slow process but doctors believe my high fitness level from dancing is the reason why I survived.”
Mum Lynne was inconsolable when doctors warned her about the seriousness of Beth’s condition.
She added : “I had no idea what had happened to Beth until I arrived at the hospital.
“I was in hysterics, I couldn’t comprehend the thought of losing my only daughter.
“We were told Beth would be severely brain damaged and to expect the worst.
“But as the weeks and months passed, we started to gain more hope.
“Her head was indented as part of her skull was removed but we knew it was only temporary.
“She opened her eyes of the first time in March 2016 while we played a song from Les Misérables.
“And from there she started speech therapy and slowly started to improve.
“She’d had a lot of her hair shaven off due to her brain surgeries but she took it all in her stride.
“At first she was really confused as to why she was in hospital but we did our best to explain and used a memory board to help bring back some of her memories.
“She will never be 100 per cent again and has severe memory problems due to the accident but she’s improving every day.”
Beth spent two years in hospital recovering from her ordeal but she is finally home and studying health and social care at college.
She added: “I love dancing but that wasn’t the right path for me, I’m now going to help other people with brain injuries.
“I have a dance teaching qualification too so I’ll hopefully start doing that in the near future.
“My recovery has been a very long process but I’m proud of how much I have achieved so far.
“I’m so lucky to have my amazing mum, Lynne at my side every step of the way as well as my boyfriend Ryan Jackson.
“I hope my story shows that miracles do happen, I’m living proof of it.”
Beth has been supported throughout her ordeal by PAUL For Brain Recovery.
Paul Spence, the founder of PAUL For Brain Recovery, said: “When I first met Beth, she had just re-entered the community after being discharged from acute services.
“She and her mum were in desperate need of support and seeing how determined she was, I decided to drive once a week to Scunthorpe so that she could access our centre in Hull.
“At PAUL for Brain Recovery, we provide support, advice, and guidance to those affected by Acquired Brain Injury.
“Our support, along with her positive spirit, has meant she has achieved things that many thought weren’t possible following her horrific brain injury.
“Beth is a very strong and inspirational young woman, and we are very proud to see her reach her full potential.
“Beth tenacity and positivity make her a shining example of what can be achievable after brain injury.
“We are proud to have been able to offer support to Beth during her recovery.”
There has been no criminal charges against the driver but the family are seeking compensation for Beth’s life changing injuries.