Bashing victim's road to recovery
TEENAGER Jake Brook is an inspiration to his family.
The former solider from Bellingen is taking big steps on his long road to recovery.
On New Year's Day, the 19-year-old suffered life-threatening brain injuries in an early morning assault.
Left permanently brain damaged, Jake has had to again learn all the little things that most people take for granted every day.
His mother Liz Brook says the fact he is alive is a miracle in itself.
“Nine months ago, we thought we had lost him,” she said.
“Every day we have with Jake is a bonus and for two weeks now he has called me mum again, something I thought I'd never hear.”
Liz and her husband Aaron, sister Emma and grandparents Don and Dulcie Brook and Mervyn and Beth Kennedy are helping Jake every step of the way.
On the night of the assault, doctors told the family they may have to switch off his life support.
He clinically died twice after the assault. He was revived at the scene and then again when surgeons relieved the swelling on his brain.
During the past nine months, Jake has undergone treatment at the Royal Rehabilitation Centre in Ryde, returning to Coffs Harbour just this week.
He carries permanent brain damage and the intellectual capacity of a young child, yet he is determined to overcome the challenges ahead of him.
“Just to see him learning to walk again, say the alphabet and generally endear himself to everyone with his happy smile and positive attitude is amazing,” his grandmother, Beth Kennedy, said.
Jakes uses a wheelchair, which he calls his bike, and has recently undergone cranioplasty surgery to insert a prosthetic section into his skull.
He says he's very happy to have his hat back on, the name he gives to the new part of his skull.
Still facing many challenges, a fundraising campaign is under way for the family.
The proceeds raised will help to extend and modify the family home to accommodate Jake, who is determined to return home.
A raffle auction will be held at the Bellingen Golf Club this Saturday from 7.30pm, where a host of sporting memorabilia will go under the hammer.
A second fundraiser is also being planned on October 23
To help out, contact Beth Kennedy on 0411 586 500.