Mahir's story

Mahir was just six years old when he was involved in a road traffic accident

Mahir is an English teacher, Arabic Interpreter and Translator and writer. When he was six years old, he was involved in a road traffic accident which broke off a large portion of his skull and subsequently caused many neurological problems. With help from family and friends, he has now published multiple books to give back and help others who have experienced acquired brain injury (ABI).

Back in 1988 when I was six years old, I was hit by a car while I was trying to cross the road. I was going back from school on the bus, and afterwards the driver had left me to cross the busy main road by myself.

Following the accident, I was on a life support machine for three weeks. The accident had permanently broken off a large portion of the back of my skull causing hearing loss in my left ear. I had hemiparesis and Bell’s palsy, the inability to move the left side of my body and left half of my face, and I lost my voice.

Being so young when the accident took place, much of my life was impacted from an early age. I recovered in hospital, needed support at school and since have had difficulty gaining and maintaining employment. This inspired me to become a teacher as I needed a lot of help throughout my life (including having one-to-one tuition) so I wanted to help and influence others.

Fortunately, I am much better now and can do most things – although I am not always good at them. Sometimes I have recurring problems: excess earwax, pressure on my head, not being able to move the left half of my face and having a weak sense of smell and taste.

Having spent a lot of time in and around hospitals during my childhood, I have realised that providing mental and emotional support is much more important than giving someone excessive gifts to “forget” their problems. For example, simply being there for someone in their hour of need, letting them know that they are not alone or forgotten, not rushing to place judgement and helping them to move forward with independence can help them to live a normal and fulfilling life.

My wife is someone that inspires me. She has been amazingly supportive and a great blessing to me. There are two areas that stand out to me. Firstly, since the accident I have had a fear of driving but my wife encouraged me to drive and supported me through this. Now, I have my own car and give lifts to friends and colleagues – I am driving more than I ever imagined!

Secondly, I have lacked confidence for most of my life so when I turned twenty I wrote my first book. I did not publish it for another ten years until my wife encouraged me to write again. Now I have multiple books, translated books and articles, some of which can be seen here. I have written a memoir about my experiences following the accident from age six to age thirty seven. You can read the synopsis and some sample pages from my book here.

It is great to know that the Brain & Spine Foundation are there as a support network should I need help and assistance. I am a writer and one of the reasons I do this is to pass on my knowledge to others. I am thankful for the opportunity to share my story which will hopefully benefit others.

If someone is at the beginning of an experience like mine, I would tell them to have faith and be patient. Regardless of how bad things are, do not give up on yourself – there is light at the end of the tunnel.