A YOUNG woman who was hit by a car and sustained a traumatic brain injury is now the star of an innovative virtual reality film that aims to raise awareness of her condition.
Anna Khan, 23, and her twin sister Lauren are featured in the short film, Is Anna OK?, made by the BBC. The film invites viewers on an emotional journey charting the aftermath of the accident that shattered both of their lives.
The unique experience is delivered via a special headset to help participants see through the sisters’ eyes.
Anna was shocked when she first saw the film. She said: “I was really freaked out, I’m not going to lie, because they’ve got everything exactly right.
“It was literally like watching me and my sister.”
The experience is told in the twins’ own words and voiced by actors.
On a cold night in December 2015, Anna was on her way home from college with her sister when she was struck by a car.
She was thrown across the bonnet before her head made contact with the ground and she sustained a serious brain injury.
Rushed to hospital in Sheffield, where the family were living at the time, Anna had been left with a broken leg, fractured face and hip, punctured lungs and a head injury.
She was put in a medically induced coma, where she remained for a month.
She recovered from the physical injuries but was left with short-term memory loss and personality changes.
Anna said: “It has had a massive effect on me. Before my accident I was at college and working and driving and I’m now doing none of that. ”
She fills her time with voluntary work and recently has been designing flyers and poster for Edinburgh-based recycling company Shrub Coop.
Apart from Lauren, her best friend is seven-month-old puppy, Harvey. She said: “If I’m upset or get frustrated and go to my room to cool down he’ll come to my room and sit on the bed next to me.”
The film, which explores how virtual reality can be used to tell a compelling piece of journalism from two different perspectives, has been featured in film festivals across the UK and has been shortlisted for two awards.
Anna said: “It’s already been on tour and a lot of people said that it made them cry and I said, ‘I didn’t mean to make you cry!’”
Watching the scene depicting her accident didn’t phase Anna because she doesn’t remember what happened but sister Lauren was left with post traumatic stress disorder.
Anna said: “She struggled after the accident and still struggles sometimes crossing the road. She’ll have a flashback and we’ll have to tell her it’s OK.”
The bond between the pair is unbreakable. Anna said: “Lauren is the only person who can understand me and if something’s too much for me she can just look at me and she knows.”