Gary Winters’ brain injury stripped him of his independence at just 30 years of age. It left him reliant upon his parents, Sarah and Ron, for support until he sadly passed away 19 years later.
When his family came to read his will, they were given a comforting reminder of Gary’s desire to help others.
“Following his brain injury, Gary's placid, unassuming personality vanished,” said Gary’s mum, Sarah.
“In its place, a forthright, determined and angry young man had arrived in our family and we had been left to navigate through life after brain injury on our own.
“It took a very long time for me to come to terms with the feeling that I had lost the son I knew, but we all began to accept and understand the new, unpredictable but caring version of Gary that had emerged after brain injury.
“His great sense of humour was invaluable to us all, especially when tackling his outbursts as a result of his injury.”
Brain injury also left Gary with short-term memory problems and weakness down the left-hand side of his body.
“Gary's new limitations created challenges for all of us,” Sarah continued.
“I had so many concerns about Gary’s future and so we turned to Headway UK for advice. The charity's directory of specialist solicitors helped us find an appropriate legal deputy who stood side-by-side with us throughout his long rehabilitation and helped him regain his independence.”
As part of his rehabilitation, Gary turned his hand to photography and even received a President’s Award for his work.
“Gary's sister Jackie treasures the photos he took at her wedding,” said Sarah. “He even returned to Solihull College where he graduated with a HNC qualification in photography.”
After living independently in his own home for 11 years, Gary tragically passed away in 2014.
“It was a very difficult time for us,” said Sarah, “We took enormous comfort from the finding out that Gary had left a gift in his will to Headway in order to help people like himself lead better lives after brain injury.
"We cried with pride when we read Gary's will. We had forgotten just how much he wanted to help people. Seeing Headway's name alongside close family members was a stark reminder of how, even at the very end, selflessly supporting others was close to Gary's heart.
"It is through this touching act of kindness we know that Gary's legacy will live on.”
Making a will is vital to securing the future of your family and the causes that are close to your heart, yet many of us often shy away from thinking about the unthinkable.
That is why Headway UK has put together a simple advice pack for anyone wishing to leave a lasting legacy by pledging a gift to Headway.
Visit our wills page to find out more.
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