Improving Life After Brain Injury

As Headway Jersey, the Brain Injury Charity, approaches their 24th year, it continues to support those who have been suffered from acquired brain injuries including Stroke, Brain Tumour, Aneurysm and Accidents amongst many other causes. Not only does Headway support those with a brain injury, but also their friends and families too.

Despite the challenges faced by the charity in 2020 due to Covid-19 where Headway has been devastated by the loss of £100,000 in fundraising and the Centre having to close during Lockdown, the charity remains adaptable in their approach to providing services to their members.

We share the varied stories of three islanders who have greatly benefitted from Headway’s extensive services.

Friendship and Community

Michelle Baudet has been a member of Headway for over 10 years since she suffered from a Stroke which left her with several severe mobility issues. During this time she has made many new friends and Michelle has said “everyone at Headway has been fantastic and helped me tremendously over the years”.

She had been particularly affected during Lockdown when she was partially hospital bound and unable to meet with her fellow members. Social media offered some contact with her friends at the Centre, but the greatest benefit was through visits from the Headway team as well as regular phone calls.

As the virus situation developed, so did the way Headway responded to their members needs and in doing so the charity provided external focus groups to those who needed them most and Michelle was just one of the members whose well being was greatly improved through these meetings.

Support For Families and Carers

Headway understands the vital importance that supporting the brain injured persons family and friends also plays and Janice Egre, whose husband Collin suffered a brain injury following surgery to a brain tumour, has described Headway’s involvement as “life changing!”

Collin attends the Centre and is an active member participating in the games and quizzes and on other days the physiotherapy sessions to improve his strength, endurance, flexibily and balance which help improve his everyday quality of life and independence which in turn helps Janice too. Collin says” people don’t understand how much stress your family are put under, because you are no longer the same person”. Janice confirms this by adding “The brain injury changed Collin to the point that he was no longer the funny, give everything a go former deputy of St. Peter”.

During Lockdown, however, it meant Collin regressed with lack of stimulation physically and mentally, although he and Janice both benefitted too from the regular phone calls Headway provided to check on their wellbeing. With the restrictions eased and Headway’s exercise class having started up again, Janice said ” Collin has noticeably improved once again in a short time, thanks to the social interaction with the other members and the benefits physically from the exercise”.

Understanding and Creativity

Following an accident involving a train, 28 year old Conor James has been left with an injury that affected his brain by causing anxiety and paranoia. Finding Headway he now has a supportive outlet where his condition is understood and his art work and creativity are encouraged. Before Lockdown he had through the support of one of the Headway team, begun to draw and write and was inspired to begin work on a book called “Life after the train”.

Lockdown was a different experience for Conor where he experienced a sense of peace and calm from everyday life, although he is grateful for the returning activities at Headway and his creative talents are once more being put to good use as he is designing the t-shirt for the upcoming Headway Running For Frubbs 10 mile race on Sunday November 22nd. Conor is appreciative of having this new focus saying “It actually gives me something to get up for” and recognising the new found purpose he has discovered having joined Headway.

If you would like to help Headway to continue to provide their life changing services, following the devastating effects of the virus to their fundraising, please contact Bryce Alford – Fundraising Manager on 505937 or email brycealford.headway@gmail.com