An acquired brain injury can challenge every aspect of your life – walking, talking, thinking and feeling. It can mean losing both the life you once lived and the person you once were - which is why so many people turn to
Headway to help.
Every year around 350,000 people are admitted to hospital with an acquired brain injury and the results can be devastating and long-lasting for the whole family. It’s thanks to organisations like Headway that people who experience this trauma can work on their recovery to live a fulfilling and independent life again.
A helping hand from Headway
A brain injury can happen to anyone, at any time, but when it does, Headway is on hand to help, no matter what the circumstances or background. They aim to promote the understanding of all aspects of brain injury and provide information and support to the survivors, their families and carers. They also aim to raise awareness of acquired brain injuries and a more understanding society, as well as campaigning for greater safety to try to prevent it happening to anyone else.
In addition to frontline services provided by the UK-wide charity, a network of Headway groups and branches across the UK and Channel Islands offer a range of services including rehabilitation, carer support, community outreach and respite care for both survivors and their families. Stepping into spring
As proud supporters of Headway and the incredible work they do, we couldn’t pass on a chance to raise awareness of the charity and fundraise so they can continue to help anyone who has experienced a brain injury.
Ahead of the spring equinox – the first day of spring - and with a collective target of 2,222,222 steps, colleagues from across the country pulled on their walking boots and set off on their journey to support Headway.
As the challenge was all about the 2’s, their aim was to raise £2,222, which would go towards supporting those who live with and who are recovering from a brain injury. Thanks to 200 supporters, the team surpassed this target to raise £6,272 for Headway UK and walked an incredible 59.6 million steps – roughly 23,800 miles.
Supporting Headway can be as simple as sharing their message on social media channels, checking in with someone you know who has a brain injury or setting up your own fundraising challenge. Help us make a difference today. It’s a marathon, not a sprint
Tom Kerr cannot speak highly enough of Headway and the support they’ve given him to get his life back on track. Having just graduated from university with a degree in sports coaching, he had the whole world at his feet. However, after being struck by a car at just 24-years-old Tom was so badly injured doctors told his partner, Louise, that even if he did survive, he would face years of rehabilitation and therapy before he could speak, walk or live independently.
Shortly after the incident which changed his life forever, Tom and his family got in touch with serious injury expert Sarah Griggs, to help them find the answers they were looking for. That’s when he was told about Headway and how they could help him with intensive rehabilitation. Tom recalls “I first started visiting Headway East London in 2013. I don’t remember all that we did as my memory has been affected by my brain injury, but I remember it being somewhere where I felt normal again. It was good to have something to look forward to each week and be with other people who had experienced something similar.”
“My speech was one of my main challenges, so having to navigate public transport to get there and interacting with the therapists and other survivors really helped to improve this. I am so thankful I was able to attend for as long as I needed to and will be forever grateful for the expert therapy and support they provided.”
Eight years after first stepping through Headway’s doors, Tom has made a remarkable recovery, married his partner, Louise, ran the London Marathon and the couple have welcomed their son, Albie. Adapting to 365 days of challenges
Like many charities, Headway and their service users have had their own challenges over the past year. The way local groups and branches have adapted to provide virtual support to survivors of an acquired brain injury and their families has been nothing short of inspiring.
A survey of survivors and their families in July last year identified the pressures that many are facing as a result of the pandemic. Fears over lost access to rehabilitation, a lack of respite for carers, increased isolation and a deterioration of mental health were all cited. Nine months on, those issues will have only worsened with the recent restrictions.
Headway groups and branches, with support from Headway UK, are working on plans to re-open when safe and appropriate to do so. In the meantime, virtual sessions coupled with welfare support delivered locally and via the Headway UK helpline continue to combat the loneliness being felt by too many people. Action for brain injury
May’s Action for Brain Injury Week asks the question of how
a life of lockdown has exacerbated social isolation for those living with a brain injury, often having a negative impact on their mental wellbeing.
Luke Griggs, deputy chief executive for Headway UK said “The pandemic has been tough on everyone, but during Action for Brain Injury Week we’ll be asking people to imagine living every day of their lives in isolation. This is the reality for many people as the effects of brain injury, such as problems with memory, information processing, or speech, compounded by a lack of understanding of this often hidden disability, can leave survivors lacking the confidence to interact with society.
“The aim is to increase awareness of the hidden aspects of brain injury and encourage them to be more proactive in reaching out to brain injury survivors to ensure they do not feel alone.
“We’ll be giving a voice to survivors and carers to help them better explain to their friends and families the challenges they face as a result of brain injury. As well as having an awareness-raising focus, it will also have positive messages and tools to help people make a difference, such as guides and top tips for friends of brain injury survivors and their carers.”
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