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Laura Macfarlane

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Laura Macfarlane

Laura Macfarlane

The severity of post-concussion syndrome is not correlated to the significance of the brain injury.

In August 2021, Alex competed in his second Ironman triathlon event, Ironman Vichy. His fiancée Laura was watching a live tracker as he progressed through the event and in an impressive time, too. Then there was a nerve-racking 20 minutes where his tracker didn't move - Alex had come off his bike.

Luckily for Alex, he came off right in front of an ambulance, where an eight-strong team of medics spent twenty minutes assessing him, eventually agreeing to his protests that he was okay and that he could continue the event.

Alex went on to ride for another hour and a half and run a marathon in a ridiculous 3 hours and 24 minutes.

The worst was yet to come

It wasn't until 24 hours later that the concussion symptoms started. Alex started getting headaches, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, brain fog, cognitive issues and a whole host of other issues. A few days after the accident, he realised something was seriously wrong and went to A&E, where he was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome.

The severity of post-concussion syndrome is not correlated to the significance of the brain injury.

Despite the initial accident feeling like a relatively minor incident, it has been over two years now, and Alex still hasn’t fully recovered. His long-term symptoms have ranged from losing his balance and barely being able to walk to an inability to hear a loud noise and severe migraines, to name a few - very much putting his life on hold. Alex is working hard on his recovery and making progress daily.

Here comes Laura

Knowing how important Headway’s support has been for them both throughout Alex’s journey, Laura took on a challenge of her own, running the Paris 2024 Marathon to raise money for Headway – the brain injury association.

Laura said:

Brain injuries are significantly under-researched, and in our darkest hour, we turned to Headway for support. They gave us hope and supported Alex in making the first steps of his recovery.

After the event, Laura said "It was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve done - relieved and so proud to have finished! I’ve also been blown away by the generous donations I’ve had!"

Alex's sister Antonia, who also ran with Laura, said:

"This was my first marathon, and to put it bluntly, it was tough. Running 26.2 miles after all those long months of training - it all takes its toll. But it is nothing compared to the long slog that my brother Alex and others suffering from brain injuries go through on their road to recovery. Laura and I have seen first hand how much of an impact a brain injury has had on Alex - there have been so many stages to his recovery, and a few backwards steps in the process. Headway has been there to help him every step of the way, and that support means everything. Just like having Alex there on the sidelines cheering Laura and I along meant to us!"

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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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