PJ Care News & Events

Pride in Peterborough Awards honour Miya’s devotion

The fiancee of former Eagle Wood resident Adam Spence has won a special award for her remarkable devotion.

Miya Barham picked up a Pride in Peterborough ‘Carer of the Year Award’ after spending two years supporting Adam, who suffered a devastating brain injury following a car accident.

PJ Care founder and chair Jan Flawn also won an award – being named ‘Health Professional of the Year’.
Miya said she was absolutely shocked and overwhelmed to we given such a prestigious prize.

The awards ceremony, organised by the Peterborough Telegraph, took place on Monday June 16, at the Holiday Inn, Thorpe Wood. It was hosted by TV actor Michelle Collins – Cindy Beale in Eastenders and Stella Price from Coronation Street.

Adam suffered his brain injury in 2012, just a few weeks after he and Miya started seeing each other.
Miya spent countless hours helping to care for Adam, and has been at his side throughout his recovery and rehabilitation.

The couple were engaged last year after Adam proposed on Valentine’s Day.

After the accident Adam spent three months in a coma in hospital in Peterborough, and his prognosis wasn’t good. Miya and Adam’s family were told to prepare for the worst.

The 22-year-old trainee painter and decorator was transferred to PJ Care’s Eagle Wood Neurological Care Centre in Peterborough for specialist care, and after some very dark days, began a remarkable turnaround.

Two years later he is continuing his recovery and rehabilitation at a care centre in Northampton with Miya still by his side.

Miya, who’s now 20, says: “Adam was in a coma for three months to help his recovery. When he came round he was in a pretty dreadful condition. He could barely move, couldn’t speak, and relied on the nurses and us for everything.

“After three further months at the hospital in Peterborough, he was transferred to the Eagle Wood for specialist care. When Adam arrived at Eagle Wood he could barely lift his head from his pillow. He was extremely weak. His muscles had wasted, and he was very thin.

“Adam’s communication was poor. He could only make a few sounds to begin with, then he eventually began to smile and laugh. It was wonderful when he started to regain his speech and some of his co-ordination.

“Gradually, Adam got stronger. He had a special diet to build him back up, and regular tailor-made physiotherapy. I was at his bedside for hours every day, and he had constant care from staff.

“Eventually was able to sit up on his own. Before long he was out of his bed and in a wheelchair on the ward at the centre.”

Johann van Zyl, chief executive at PJ Care, which owns and manages Eagle Wood, described Miya’s support as invaluable. He said: “It’s very rare to see anyone so young show so much commitment to another person – let alone someone with such profound difficulties as Adam faces.

“Adam and Miya became part of the Eagle Wood family. Adam was here for well over a year, and Miya spent so much time here too.

“We really wish Adam and Miya all the very best for the future, and they know that if they need anything we will always be here to offer whatever support we can.”

Miya, who’s a hairdresser, went on: “The staff at Eagle Wood made Adam’s family and friends so welcome. We were always encouraged to treat it like his home – and I often stayed in rooms at Eagle Wood if Adam wanted me there, or if I couldn’t get home after visiting.

“Adam took his first steps in the Eagle Wood gymnasium with the help of specialist equipment. It was a real turning point.

“A few weeks later, Adam was able to stand on his own. The physiotherapists helped lift Adam out of his wheelchair and they gently allowed him to bear his own weight. A few weeks later he was taking his first steps on his own.

“Adam worked hard with the physiotherapists and started running – he started indoors on the treadmill, and then ran outside in the grounds of Eagle Wood. Adam’s still improving.

“Adam was discharged from Eagle Wood, and is now in a care home in Northampton, where he’s making strides towards more independence, and we’re hoping we’ll soon be able to live semi-independently in the community. He expects to live with his dad to begin with, and eventually he’ll move in with me.”

Adam’s father Mike, who owns the Dial Cars car showroom in Stamford, was also full of praise for Miya.

“Miya’s one in a million,” said Mike. “It’s hard to express how wonderful she has been and how much of her own life she has devoted to Adam over the past two years.

“And I can’t praise the staff Eagle Wood and everyone at PJ Care enough. His recovery has been phenomenal.

“They have worked so hard, and he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for their care and commitment.”