The Hemel Hempstead woman, who has suffered six strokes since being diagnosed with a cluster of abnormal vessels on her brain at 13, won the Headway Achiever of the Year award on December 6.
Nicola Evans, 36, has been battling with brain injuries for years and after she suffered her fifth stroke, she realised she wouldn’t be able to return to her job as an event planner.
She began painting and filing her nails whilst in hospital rehab as a hobby but never believed she could make a business out of it.
She then started looking into nail courses and began practising on her friends and family before she then started visiting Headway to begin painting the nails of people there.
Headway is a UK-wide charity that works to improve life after brain injury by providing vital support and information services.
Nicola won the Headway Achiever of the Year because following her brain surgery and strokes due to an abnormal lesion in her brain, she is now helping others to recover from stroke and brain injury.
Nicola said: “In my typical style, I didn’t even realise that I’d won, when they called my name I stumbled onto the stage, I didn’t feel nervous but I think that with everything going on in the room my brain was struggling to function fully.
“I was handed an engraved plate as well as my certificate, but I thought ‘hang on, did the other finalists get this?’ and it was only when I sat back down, I realised I won.
“Once I realised, it felt incredible and it’s such an honour to be awarded this title.”
In January Nicola is heading to India to take a yoga training course. She said: “I’m doing this because yoga has been fundamental to my recovery. There is a real gap in the market for yoga teachers who teach yoga for brain recovery, and I want to be able to fill it and help people to recover like I did.”
To help Nicola with her journey to India, click here.