Son’s brave story subject of play

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Having a play written about your son is not something every mother experiences, especially when he has been through as much as local hairdresser Joss Chisholm’s son has.

Nick Chisholm, an architect and keen rugby player, was 27 when he suffered a stroke 14 years ago, which left him locked in his own body.

A play has been written about his journey which was helped by his strong will, his family and friends, and the love and care of his wife, who he met on the internet.

His mother Joss said she was not sure how she felt about the play, which will be shown here in Oamaru next month.

She hasn’t seen it yet but hopes to when it comes to town.

“It’s nice that it is coming to Oamaru. It is quite inspirational really.”

Nick told her, through the alphabet board he uses, that when he saw the play, he laughed and cried all the way through it.

On a winter’s afternoon in 2000, Joss was styling clients’ hair for a school ball when she got a phone call saying Nick had suffered a seizure while playing rugby.

“He was rushed to hospital. It took them five days to find out what was wrong,” she said.

Joss was devastated to be told that he had locked-in syndrome and he might not survive.

At one point, the family was told they might have to consent to have his life support machine turned off, but the doctor told Joss to wait for a while longer.

One day, Nick opened one eye and said to her, using the board, that he would get through this.

“He said: ‘Mum, I’m going to fight this thing’.”

“I think if it was me, I would just want to die,” Joss said.

Nick spent years in hospital and now lives in Dunedin, in a house specially renovated for him by his boss and his brothers.

“The most amazing thing is that he’s found love,” his mother said.

“We never thought that this would happen.”

He met Nicola – a young, beautiful English woman – on the internet a few years ago when his friend told him he needed to get Facebook, Joss said.

Joss is not sure exactly how they got talking, but Nicola told her she fell in love with him almost straight away.

“She’s the most amazing girl.

“They got married after Christmas last year.”

Nick even managed to walk down the aisle, with the help of his friends.

He has limited movement but can now breathe, smell and taste, which he could not do at first, Joss said.

He goes to the gym every day and can lift three times his body weight.

He hoped to enter wheelchair bodybuilding competitions, she said.

“He’s amazing really.

“We’re still hoping and praying really that one day there’ll be something for Nick. Even if he could speak, it would be good.”

The play Nick: An Accidental Hero will be performed at the Oamaru Opera House on July 20 at 7.30pm.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

ACCIDENTAL HERO: Oamaru’s Joss Chisholm holds a photo of her son Nick with other family members.