He speaks to us about his experiences with brain injury, how Headway has helped him, and his talent and aspirations for graphic design.
Can you tell us a bit about your brain injury?
I was involved in a road traffic collision in May 2013 as a passenger in a car. I sustained a severe traumatic brain injury and orthopaedic injuries, including fractured ribs, fractured clavicle, removal of my spleen and internal bleeding.
How does your brain injury affect you?
It affects my mobility and my speech, and I have cognitive difficulties, including difficulties with executive function, short-term memory, information processing and cognitive fatigue.
It has also impacted my work opportunities as I have not been in paid employment for ten years since my accident, although I am taking steps to address this now.
How has Headway South Bucks helped you?
From the day after my accident, Headway has been in my life. Headway initially offered my mum financial support and supported her to stay in hospital so she could be with me.
Headway helped with my recovery and my rehabilitation, provided a support worker to help me with activities of daily living and offered advice and guidance and someone to be there to talk to, which I really appreciated.
What else has helped you on your brain injury journey?
My determination not to be a permanent wheelchair user and to live independently. Support from a rehabilitation perspective, from my therapists, family friends and, importantly, having the right attitude to my recovery.
Tell me a bit about how you’ve kindly helped Headway and why?
I donated cups to Headway for the staff and clients and then put graphics of people’s names on their personal cups. I also created a Headway sign and placed this on a gazebo for a marketing event.
When I was living in Haverhill following the accident, I accessed the local Headway branch, and I helped with fundraising and managed to raise £1000 from a local company to donate to Headway. However, I am keen to do more for the charity if I can.
What has been your proudest moment/s during your brain injury journey?
Getting out of a wheelchair!
Learning how to create artwork using a programme called Coral Draw in, which I was self-taught how to use with the support of the charity Workwise, which also helped me to access an IT-related ITQ qualification.
You are currently building up your portfolio; what are your hopes for the future?
I am planning to use my knowledge and creativity to set up a business named Osborne Graphics, to create bespoke graphics for people, such as sign writing and marketing material, to help me with meaningful occupation and to keep occupied and to keep me focused, as I like a challenge.
Hopefully I can make a small income from it, helping people in the process.
What would you like people to better understand about brain injury?
That people with brain injuries are not brain dead. We are brain injured, and despite our injuries and challenges, we are human beings and have many strengths and abilities. We should be valued and treated equally for our strengths. Also, we are resilient, work around things and find different ways of doing things.
What would you say to somebody struggling with brain injury?
The recovery is ongoing and starts from day one, and although it is hard at times, it becomes more manageable over time.
Keep positive, maintain good relationships with friends and family and keep in contact with them, particularly during difficult periods.
Importantly, maintain a good sense of humour, celebrate your accomplishments and try to find different ways of doing things to overcome the barriers. Also, importantly, ask for help if you need it.
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