Imagine waking up from a coma on life support for two and a half months and the only things you can remember are that you like Jimmy Barnes music, that you go for the Manly Sea Eagles and you know how to make scones.
That was the cruel reality for Lithgow resident Sue Pillans after she was involved in a serious car accident in 1987, aged 19.
Sue and her best friend Tracey Curran, 16 at the time, were passengers in a car which crashed on Inch Street, Lithgow.
Sue, who wasn't wearing a seat belt at the time, was flung through the windscreen and hit a telegraph pole.
"When I came out of my coma I didn't realise who my mother was, who my father was, who my sister was or who my daughter was but I knew I went for Manly and I knew Cold Chisel, Jimmy Barnes," she said.
Sue had to learn how to speak again, but as soon as she heard the song 'Flame Trees' by Cold Chisel she could sing the song.
Sue became involved in the Traffic Offenders Intervention Program (TOIP) 11 years ago, to tell her story in the hope that it could save someone's life.
"When I first started they wanted to know how they could pay me, and I said before I die I would love to meet Jimmy Barnes so they organised that for me," she said.
Sue said she was passionate about talking at the program.
"As long as I can help people, and make them realise this can happen - because my right eye will never open and I still haven't got my smell back, I can taste but can't smell, and I can't retain memory very good," she said.
Whenever Tracey passes the site of the accident on Inch Street, her knuckles go white.
"Nine times out of 10 I will try and avoid it, once I'm around the corner I'm fine but afterwards I have flashbacks, it's just terrifying," she said.
But Sue has no memory of the accident.
"I can't remember it, I just go off what people told me happened, which is what I do with my talk," she said.
Tracey has only just recently begun to speak about the traumatic night that changed her life, joining Sue for her talks only two years ago.
"I never knew it affected Tracey this much, she couldn't bring herself to talk about it, and I told her she saved my life, which she did," Sue said.
"If I had been sitting normally, I still wouldn't have been wearing my seat belt because apparently I hated seat belts, but I would've been cracked down the front of my face, and they wouldn't have been able to save me. But because I was looking at Tracey I copped it down the back of my head."
Tracey said the scene of the accident was horrific.
"Just trying to get out of the car and realising what had happened and seeing my friend on the ground, and the car was smoking so myself and the male occupant dragged her [Sue] away from the car, which we probably shouldn't have done but we didn't want our friend to blow up and next minute ambulance and cops arrived and Sue was being flown to Sydney in a serious and unstable condition," she said.
"She shouldn't have survived."
A taxi driver who witnessed the accident contacted emergency services.
"We had lost the muffler off the car, and the taxi driver flashed his lights but we kept going, if we would've stopped then maybe the accident wouldn't have happened," Tracey said.
Sue said that a grave spot had already been picked out for her.
"Heaven didn't want me and hell was too scared I would take over, so I got stuck here," she joked.
"Ten of the best Sydney specialists came and saw me and nine of them said I wouldn't come out of the coma and one said I had a one in a million chance in surviving but I would be severely mentally retarded."
Incredibly Sue proved them wrong, but some things had changed.
It wasn't until after the accident that Sue began to suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder.
"I think it is from watching all the nurses and doctors clean things up in hospital," she said.
A couple of years ago, Sue went deaf in one ear and, when she went to see a specialist, they told her it was a delayed reaction to the accident.
Not does just it does affect you when it happens, it's has a lifetime affect on you, your family and your friends, Tracey said.
Sue said the toughest part about her memory loss was losing the memory of giving birth to her child.
When she was six years old, Sue said she was hit by a car and broke her pelvis. As a result, she was told she would never have any children.
"I was blessed with one," she said.
Sue said she had lost a lot of friends from before the accident.
"They want me to be like the old Sue, but I can't because I don't remember," she said.
After the accident Sue fell into a deep depression, not being able to do what she used to be capable of.
"I don't anymore because I am helping people, it took away the depression," she said.
TOIPs has had a major impact on both women.
"By the time I walked out of my first talk I felt good, I felt sad, hurt, loss but I thought if she [Sue] can do it, I can do it with her because that's my best friend and I need to do this," Tracey said.
Tracey said there were some people you can affect with the story and others you can't but if they could affect one person, that is a life saved.
"We are just lucky it was a single car accident, I don't want to know the end result if another car was on the road," she said.
Tracey said they do the program to make sure other community members don't do the "stupid" thing they did.
"It doesn't just affect the person behind wheel, but those in the vehicle, family and friends," she said.
"TOIP's is a good rehabilitation not only for the people who go to it but for myself and Sue.
"We have stood by each other and been best mates all these years, I can honestly say we have been through it all.
"It's not something that you just sit around and talk about, it was a shameful thing and embarrassing thing, but talking about it has helped so much."
Sue and Tracey said they would love to take their talk to high schools, to talk to students who will be going for their licences.
Sue said she wasn't embarrassed to explain to young kids about why she looks the way she does.
"It's not an embarrassing thing, if I can explain to them the importance of wearing a seat belt then I've helped someone," she said.
Tracey said she wants to talk to kids before they get their licence.
"Say to them, this is what will happen if you don't take care now and take responsibility, you or your family could end up like we did," she said.
"If we didn't step into the car that night, our lives would be so different."
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