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Headway's Home Heroes!

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Headway's Home Heroes!

Fri 17 Jul 2020

Headway Home Heroes up and down the UK have been taking on fundraising challenges to help us cope with a severe reduction in income as a result of COVID-19.

The 2.6 Challenge

The 2.6 Challenge was an initiative which aimed to raise £67 million for UK charities by the end of April, launched under the banner of ‘Save the UK Charities’.

The challenge, which started on the day that was to be the London Marathon, Sunday 26 April, asked people to take part in an activity related to the number 2.6 or 26 and fundraise for their favourite charity.

Our ambassadors led the way

Clockwise from top-left:

Our community fundraising heroes

Clockwise from top-left:

Lois goes the extra mile

Brain injury doesn’t just affect individuals; it can transform the lives of entire families. When this happens, Headway is here to help.

Lois knows just how devastating and far-reaching the consequences of brain injury can be - after all, she’s been beside her daughter Sarah every step of the way for the past two years as she’s learnt to live with post-concussion syndrome.

Her family also know just how important the support of Headway can be to those struggling to navigate their way through these scary and troubling times.

As a way of thanking Headway for all its support over the past few years, Lois decided to become a Headway Home Hero and take on her own 2.6 Challenge by walking 26.2 miles in 10 days.

She said: “I felt proud to raise awareness of a charity so close to all our hearts.

"Headway has been there for Sarah through some difficult times and the support on offer has been incredible.”

In July 2018, Lois’ daughter Sarah sustained a traumatic brain injury.

41-year-old Sarah had always been a keen cyclist and decided that she would embark on an adventure from Lands’ End to John O’Groats in memory of her brother who had committed suicide a few years earlier.

But Sarah and her family could never have prepared themselves for what came next.

It was on day five of her 1000-mile trip that the front wheel of her bike fell off while she was travelling at speed, causing her to lose control and crash. She sustained a mild traumatic brain injury, broken jaw and dislocated shoulder among other minor physical injuries.

Sarah said: “To start with, the significance of the brain injury wasn’t apparent. I struggled a lot with headaches, fatigue, concentrating and maintaining attention - and being in loud, busy environments was a no-no!” It was then that Sarah decided to reach out to Headway.

She said: “The Headway helpline was excellent and I was able to get much needed support and guidance. I also used the information on the website which was really useful in helping me to understand the brain injury.”

Sarah also accessed support through her local Headway group in Warrington.

“I was made to feel welcome at Headway Warrington and my experience of living with a brain injury was validated,” she said. “For all those living with a mild TBI or post-concussion syndrome who like me may have struggled with acceptance of their injury and finding the support and rehab necessary, you are not alone, believe in yourself, access the support on offer at Headway, it can make a difference to your recovery.”

To say thank you for the support Headway offered Sarah following her injury, Lois decided to don her walking boots for the 2.6 Challenge and walk an impressive 26 miles over the course of 10 days.

“It was on my 79th birthday that Sarah mentioned the 2.6 Challenge and I suggested we do a 2.6-mile walk. My husband Glyn and I walk almost every day and the beautiful surroundings in our town mean it isn’t difficult to cover that distance.

“But Sarah had something else in mind. She suggested that we walk 2.6 miles for 10 days to cover the length of a marathon. We took on the challenge.

“Glyn, who himself sustained a brain injury a few months before we were married, is an avid walker but I suffer from osteoarthritis so it was more of a challenge for me to do the distances on a daily basis.

“We had some lovely weather for the first few days, but I even enjoyed walking in the rain too as it was all for a good cause.”

Other members of Lois’ family have also gotten involved with the 2.6 Challenge by walking, dancing, trampolining and jumping on a pogo stick.

As for Sarah’s future? For the time being she is focusing on her recovery and learning to come to terms with a new way of life post-brain injury.

She said: “Acceptance has been difficult and slow in coming. I certainly felt a fraud especially when compared to those who have sustained more severe brain injuries. I doubted my symptoms for so long, feeling a failure for not being better after 21 months!

“For me, this is no longer about recovering what once was, but adapting and becoming something, someone better because of this injury.”

Lois added: “We have always been proud of Sarah and all that she has achieved, but we are also proud of the way she has faced this trauma.

"It has been the most difficult challenge anyone should have to face as her life has been turned upside down.”

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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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