BIG magazine extract: Making headway

By Andrew Kennedy

The latest edition of our BIG magazine is out now. It tells the stories of people across Northern Ireland whose lives have been transformed thanks to projects supported by the Big Lottery Fund. This week we’ll be featuring extracts from a  few of the moving and inspirational articles featured in the latest edition.

READ AN EXCLUSIVE FIRST EXTRACT FROM THE MAGAZINE HERE:  The moving tale of Ballymena woman Gail Workman and her son Stephen. Stephen was just a teenager when he had a massive brain haemorrhage. But thanks to the  dedication of his mother and the Big Lottery Funded charity she helped set up, he has been able to lead a normal life…..

Mother and son embrace
Stephen and his mother Gail

It was just a normal day in the Workman household in Ballymena.

The family’s four children were watching TV while their mother Gail fried up some chips for that night’s tea and caught up on the evening news.

Suddenly her 14-year-old son Stephen ran into the kitchen screaming in agony and clutching his head.

Quickly realising something awful had happened, Gail rang 999 and Steven was rushed into hospital. In that instant her whole world had been shattered.

Stephen had experienced a major brain aneurysm and it was unclear whether he would survive. He needed surgery and Gail and husband Billy were told to expect the worst.

“My son Stephen is 35 now, a grown man who, with our support, leads an independent life,” says Gail.

“But we were so scared when he went into surgery. I felt so helpess. But he defied the odds. His surgery was successful and his surgeon said we had got the miracle we had been praying for.

But it was clear her son had changed. “Stephen had what is called an acquired brain injury,” she explains. “He was such a shy, quiet boy, but now he was loud and demanding and swore a lot. It was like he became a different person overnight and we really struggled to cope…………….

If you would like to read more on this story order a free copy of our BIG magazine by emailing our communications team at:

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