Stephen Nichol was working as a full-time pastor, when in August 2014, he was hit by a car while cycling for exercise, in a random accident. The at fault driver was charged with negligence. From that day, at 57 years of age, despite only minor recoverable injuries such as broken collarbone and ribs, and displaced AC joint (shoulder), Stephen never worked again. He had worked full time since the age of 17. In the blink of an eye, his life and that of his family was changed forever.
Following the physical recovery from the injuries, Stephen still couldn’t function normally, and the family feared that he had post traumatic stress. To their shock, after months of tests with various medical professionals, a psychiatrist coldly stately, “You have dementia”. A combination of medical imaging and psychological examinations revealed physical evidence that Stephen had a combination of vascular and frontotemporal dementia. He immediately had his driver’s licence revoked. The man who travelled frequently nationally and globally, independently and leading teams, was left mentally incapacitated.
Here were some of his main activities:
- Worked as a missionary in the slum areas of Thailand over a period of 7 years.
- Senior pastor of Coolum Christian Family Church for 18 years. In that time, he was the CEO working with a team for the procurement of land, and the establishment of the church, school and international college.
- Regularly took teams of people to destitute and necessitous areas for rebuilding, training and support in India, Thailand, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Burma, Vietnam, and Nepal.
- Senior pastor of Hinterland Christian Centre for just over two years.
- Interim field director for IGC in impoverished areas of Cebu, Philippines, for three months.
In late 2016 over a period of two months, Steve endured six subdural haematomas, which were spontaneous bleeds. He survived two burr hole surgeries and two mini craniotomies for the evacuation of the bleeds, and currently has two bleeds still sitting on the brain.
In early 2017 after the brain bleeds, the medical consultation team deemed Steve unable to return home due to his high care needs, and he entered a dementia-secure aged care facility.
In September 2017, Steve was transferred to New Direction Care, at 41 Lotus Avenue, Bellmere. He flourished in this modern new facility, and was so much happier and peaceful as he was treated with dignity and respect. His was accommodated in a seven bedroom house with six other residents. The residents were able to live in the house, just like they would in their own home.
After a five year battle with dementia, Stephen passed on November 13, 2019.
Stephen will always be remembered in the hearts of his family. He will never be forgotten.