The picture of road safety campaigner Nikki Webber on her new website sums up her attitude to life.
The 29-year-old is laughing at the camera, her mouth wide in a big grin. The only clue to the challenge of her life is that she is sitting on a mobility scooter.
Twenty years ago Nikki was knocked down by a car in Bawtry as she ran across the road while out collecting chestnuts with her mum, dad and sister.
She was in a coma for six weeks and left severely brain damaged. Her parents were told she would never walk or talk again.
But the doctors hadn’t counted on Nikki’s extraordinary determination.
It was a slow process but she proved the experts wrong, talking again after 18 months and walking after two years.
Since the age of 13 she has been giving talks to children about the importance of road safety.
Her new website www.nikkiwebber.co.uk tells her uplifting story – but she also wants other people in her home village of Bircotes to contribute.
Sitting in her specially adapted bungalow Nikki said: “I’ve lived in Bircotes all my life and I would like everyone to get involved by sending in their stories, poems, funnies and memories about Bircotes.”
“It will be about having a laugh and looking at village life and reminiscing. People can send old photos too or draw pictures and I will put them on the website too.”
Nikki has also begun to write a book about herself, which will describe her accident and the long journey she had afterwards to help her regain some normality to her life.
Amazingly though she still feels lucky.
She said: “I feel so damned privileged, I’ve still got so many skills I can work with. I remember everything about the physio after the accident and how painful it was but I knew I couldn’t give in.”
“I had a lot of support from my family and friends and my carers, who come in every day. I’m getting someone to type the book for me because I can’t type with both hands because it hurts me, and using voice recognition doesn’t work because when my neck gets too tight I sound like a different person.”
Nikki also suffers from short term memory loss, poor co-ordination and a detached retina.
After her accident she went back into mainstream schooling and then got A levels in media at North Notts College.
She will be 30 on 2nd May but says she doesn’t feel grown up. She sees other people her age who have got jobs, got married and had children but doesn’t allow herself time for regrets or to become bitter.
“Things happen for a reason. I just want to do what I can to make children realise how important road safety is. I teach them to stop, look, listen, think, live.”
“When I first did talks the children used to ask me if it hurt when I got run over. At my most recent talk a young boy said getting knocked down is just like being in a computer game. But I want children to know that you don’t just bounce back up, getting run over kills you or leaves you with severe injuries like mine.”
“I tell them that my disabilities are like a tattoo, they will never rub off and I have them for life. I get kids coming up to me who remember when I visited their school and so I hope they remember the road safety message too.”
* To contribute to Nikki’s website please contact me and I will pass details on to her.
If you want to book Nikki for a road safety talk please also contact me in the first instance.