When your loved one is in hospital fighting for their life, all you want is to be by their side.
For many people this can mean travelling many miles each day and the impact on their finances can be stark at time when they are already under immense strain.
To help people in these circumstances we created the Emergency Fund which provides grants of up to £500 in the immediate aftermath of brain injury, to help adult brain injury survivors and their families cope with the sudden practical implications.
Adam, 29,from Bacup, Lancashire, was supported by the fund after he found himself under significant financial pressure when his girlfriend Sophie, 27, suffered a stroke at a New Year’s Eve party.
“It was a normal party and everyone was having a good time,” recalled Adam.
“The night was in full swing and as you would expect the drinks were flowing. Sophie came over and said she was going upstairs for while because she wasn’t feel that well. We all just assumed she had a bit too much alcohol.
“I went up to check on her and she said that she felt sick and dizzy. It wasn’t long until she began vomiting. I did the classic boyfriend thing, rubbed her back and held her hair back.
“After a while she stopped being sick and went to lie on the bed complaining of headache. I took the opportunity to get her some water and when I came back into the room I spoke to her and she didn’t look up properly – It was then I noticed the side of her face was drooping.”
Sophie was taken to the nearest hospital but a scan showed a further bleed on the brain and she needed more specialist help. She was transferred immediately to Salford Hospital for surgery, more than 20 miles away.
Adam said: “We were warned to be prepared for the worse. The operation took hours. It was the longest hours of my life, it was agonising. It felt like days.”
Thankfully Sophie survived the operation and began rehabilitation, however with no income besides his welfare benefits and without a car, Adam was struggling to visit. To get to the hospital he had to catch three buses and it was seriously impacting his finances.
He said: “It was a nightmare, as all I wanted to do was be there for her and make sure she knew she wasn’t alone. Hospitals can feel like very lonely places at times and it was breaking my heart that I couldn’t get there more. But I had to watch my outgoings because otherwise I wouldn’t have enough to live on.”
Things changed when Adam applied for help through our Emergency Fund.
It provided Adam with two bus passes, one for his journey in Lancashire and another for the journey in Manchester, which covered his journey to the hospital for a month.
It also provided him with a further £100 to help him with his travel expenses when Sophie was moved to Chorley hospital, this journey was more complicated so a cash grant was provided.
Adam said he was so grateful for the support he received from Headway.
He said: “The help I got from the fund was massive for me and Sophie, it was vital. It took the pressure off and helped me to just be there for her. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without it.
“My whole world was in complete turmoil so to have one less thing to worry about really helped.”
Sophie is due to be discharged from hospital shortly but Adam said he knows that life will continue to be hard. He said: “We know things will be very tough but we will keep going, thankfully there are charities like Headway around to help.”
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