We are delighted to announce our new charity partner Headway Ireland. This year our staff will be running the Regeneron Great Limerick Run in support of raising funds for Headway. Headway provides services and support for people affected by acquired brain injury in Ireland.
We were truly inspired and humbled to have the pleasure of hosting an information seminar on acquired head injuries for our staff on 27th March.
Rella Galvin, Headway’s Rehabilitative Services Manager, spoke to our staff about the different types of brain injuries, their causes, the symptoms (both visible and invisible) as well as the complex treatments that are involved on the road to recovery. Rella also informed us of the many fantastic services that Headway Ireland provide, and more specifically, the services offered in their Limerick offices. More information on Headway Ireland and their services can be viewed here on their website.
We were very fortunate to listen to both Brian and Shannonree, two of Headway’s clients, tell their incredibly moving and inspiring stories. You can read about their experiences below.
We also presented Headway with the proceeds from our Brain Injury Awareness Week #BakeForBrainInjury coffee morning fundraiser. Proceeds were split between Headway and a second charity Acquired Brain Injury Ireland. Special thanks to our generous sponsors La Cucina, Sodalicious, Hook and Ladder and Bean an Tí.
More information on how you can help raise funds for Headway Ireland and to assist them in providing vital supports and expanding their services further will follow shortly.
9 years ago, Brian Hogan was left blind and wheelchair bound after an unprovoked attack. Brian was living in the UK at the time and working as a Quantity Surveyor when he was assaulted by a stranger on a night out with a group of friends. After being punched he fell and hit his head off the pavement. When paramedics arrived, Brian insisted he was fine and was going home to bed, signing a waiver for hospital treatment. He was unaware that his brain was bleeding internally.
Brian spent three months in a coma and his family were advised he had 10% chance of survival. Despite the odds Brian woke from the coma and entered six very difficult months of rehabilitation. Brian now lives in ABII accommodation for people with acquired brain injury in Clarecastle and attends Headway Services. Despite how his life has been turned upside down and the physical, cognitive and psychological challenges he faces daily, he is determined to keep a positive outlook and insists there is always someone worse off. Brian is focused on raising awareness of acquired brain injury and advocating for those with disabilities. In his words Headway, “switched on the light when I was in a place of complete darkness in my mind”.
Shannonree Maher acquired a brain injury as a result of a stroke when she was just 17 years old. She woke up one morning with a heavy feeling on her left hand side. Throughout the day she realised something was wrong when she was losing her balance and was unable to write properly. Shannonree’s symptoms took a full week to develop. She was taken to hospital but doctors were baffled and unable to explain how, at her age, she could have a stroke. Shannonree tried to go back to school after a period of rehabilitation but the physical, and cognitive consequences of her injury made it impossible to keep up.
Now 20, Shannonree is an inspiring, resilient and motivated young woman. Despite contending with short-term memory loss and fatigue everyday she attends Headway where she has recently completed an equivalent to the Leaving Certificate. She is currently undertaking a level 6 course and has applied for a Social Care Studies course at LCFE. Shannonree has set up a blog to provide information and support to young people who have had strokes youngstrokeshappen.blogspot.com
Although reluctant to attend Headway at first, Shannonree now says “I thank my mom every day for making me go to Headway because I honestly don’t know where I’d be without them”. She says that Headway have built her confidence back up in herself and given her the tools to get her life back on track. She calls the staff and clients at Headway her “second family” and praises them for their vocational training programme.