WAY BACK: Former teacher Barbara Crameri is looking ahead after she was hit by a car.
WAY BACK: Former teacher Barbara Crameri is looking ahead after she was hit by a car. Peter Gardiner

Teacher gives up life's calling after freak Paris accident

TEACHING will always be the passion of 44-year-old Barbara Crameri, but one disastrous split second in Paris in 2012 almost ended her life.

She has now put her life's calling beyond her.

The settled and satisfying world of Barbara and husband Danny was knocked almost into oblivion after a runaway vehicle slammed into her as she admired the Eiffel Tower on her 40th birthday getaway.

And not even her incredibly strong and positive will has been able to reunite Barbara with her Sunshine Beach State School students in the classroom by way of a permanent return.

This month she has retired from teaching after being deemed medically unfit by specialists, despite the fact that with the help of physios she learned to walk all over again after six months in a wheelchair.

Danny was holding her hand, thinking that she was slipping away, but Barbara's fighting spirit never wavered despite the horrific injuries which would have her in intensive care for 25 days.

Barbara told him then: "We can get through this thing."

Before her accident, she had sent back 30 Eiffel Tower statues to her Sunshine Beach Year 4s and, after a 50-day stay in hospital, Barbara returned home to pay them a visit in the classroom.

She began her gritty, graduated return to work in 2014, with the same determination which sustained her on that day on the Paris sidewalk.

"I really desperately wanted to go back, and I was doing everything I could to remain in the job," Barbara said.

"Unfortunately I could no longer guarantee adequate duty of care for the students due to my injuries.

"I'm at peace with being retired and accept that I've done everything in my power to return to teaching.

"I miss the classroom. I still love teaching. It will always be my passion."

And the former students and parents that Barbara still meets on the street miss her and appreciate all she had done.

"I'm overwhelmed by their good wishes and words of support," she said.

One former student told her: "It's so nice to see you" and then said she still had her French tower souvenir.

Barbara's recovery remains a day-to-day mission of daily exercise to strengthen her legs which tire easily, Noosa Hospital hydrotherapy and regular visits to the psychologist to deal with the sort of triggers that can play on her mind.

"I was always pretty positive about it (the recovery work)," she said.

"It was the stuff that I could do that I focused on."

Every time Barbara is out and about and hears the screeching of tyres, her Paris nightmare returns.

"It's those little things I think other people take for granted," she said.

"Walking through a carpark or even on a footpath, when I hear tyres screech, always gives me a jolt.

"That will remain me for quite some time, but I see a psychologist who gives me plenty of strategies to deal with that."

Thanks to her family, friends and support of her husband, she's looking to get on with her life: "Everyone has setbacks in life. In the future, I'm going to look forward to tomorrow."

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