- Christina Corp, 25, suffered serious head and brain injuries when a car she was in collided with a bus - her friend was killed
- Her parents were told four times it was likely she would die
- Now runs a music group for disabled people to help them on their road to recovery
By Jill Reilly
PUBLISHED: 04:23 EST, 20 August 2012 | UPDATED: 05:15 EST, 20 August 2012
Lost time: Christina Corp lost 17 years of memories in the car crash
A young woman has spoken of the pain of not being able to remember the first 17 years of her life after a car crash wiped out her memory.
Christina Corp, 25, lost memories of birthdays, Christmas, boyfriends and even her first kiss after the accident which left her with serious head and brain injuries.
In a 13-week coma, her family were told she would
die four times, but she defied doctors to survive.
Tragically, Miss Corp's friend Vicky Waters was killed when the Ford Fiesta collided with a coach of schoolchildren on the A32, a winding road from Fareham to Alton.
Miss Corp, 25, from Stubbington, Hampshire said:
'It is upsetting to lose all those childhood memories but I have lots of things to look forward to and I am still alive which is a blessing.
'I know everyone's faces, their telephone numbers, how I know them but I had forgotten every single experience we had together.
'I cannot remember any birthdays or Christmases I have had. The family holiday memories or even my first kiss which is horrible.
'I have also lost memories of boyfriends and roles in school plays. Anything that happened in the first 17 years of my life is gone.'
The impact of the crash affected one side of her face, with nerve endings, one eye and her jaw damaged.
Miss Corp's parents Jackie and Danny kept a vigil by her bedside during her recovery in 2004.
'At that stage she wasn’t responding to pins in her fingers and toes, and we were told she had such brain damage that the only thing she’d ever be able to do is breathe for herself,' said Mrs Corp to the Portsmouth Anglican.
Scene of smash: Her parents were told four times it was likely she would die after the horrific crash on the A32, a winding road from Fareham to Alton
Amnesia is the name given to a disturbance in the ability to recall stored memories.
It is usually caused by disease or head injury, but in rare cases can occur apparently spontaneously.
The memory loss associated with amnesia can include everything from a person's past or just portions of it.
In most cases, it is a temporary condition, lasting from a few seconds to a few hours. But in severe cases, it can last months or even years.
There are several different types of amnesia. Retrograde amnesia is an inability to remember any events that occurred before the accident or illness.
Usually, the affected person cannot remember events shortly before their accident or illness at all, but their memories of the distant past are intact, and there is a gradient of memory loss between the two extremes.
Retrograde amnesia often lasts for a year, before the patient starts to remember things. But in some cases where the trauma to the head has been severe, memory may never be recovered.
'We were told she’d be unlikely to
ever leave hospital. One consultant even said there was a point when
they might be asking to withdraw treatment.
the prayer really worked. She didn’t get a serious infection, she
didn’t get bedsores, and she started to kick her legs around. We’d been
told she’d never come out of the coma, so that was exciting.'
When Miss Corp eventually awoke she could remember loved ones, but could not recall the experiences they had together.
She added: 'I woke up and could not remember what I had done with my family but remember them as people. It was very terrifying.
'I went back to old holiday destinations to see if I could remember anything but apart from some deja-vu I could not remember anything.
Miss Corp knows that she got an A* for her English literature and language GCSEs.
'I still have trouble remember things now which is part of the after affects of my brain injuries. I can remember things but I will have some short-term memory loss now and again.'
A talented musician and writer Miss Corp now helps other families whose loved ones are in comas, reassuring them to never give up hope.
Miss Corp said: 'When I woke up they said I would never walk or talk. I would just breathe and be a permanent vegetable. They were a bit wrong.
'My mum and dad had faith in me and because of that faith that got me out of my coma I believe.
'I want to show people just how much a brain injured person can do.
'I had to relearn to walk and talk and do everything again. It was like being a newborn baby It is amazing I had pulled through and I am proud of myself.'
The charity shop worker who will never get the memories back, also runs a music group for disabled people to help them on their road to recovery.
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