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Inspiring Northampton brain injury survivor wins national award

Fri 09 Dec 2022

A Northampton man who sustained a traumatic brain injury in a freak accident has won a national award.

Since sustaining his life-changing brain injury, Mark Kennedy, 48, has ticked off an incredible list of achievements, including running more than 100 half marathons and delivering inspirational speeches across the UK.

He won the Alex Richardson Achiever of the Year Award - sponsored by Slater and Gordon and presented by Olympic gold medallist, James Cracknell, at the Landmark Hotel, London.

The national awards programme, run by UK-wide charity Headway – the brain injury association, celebrates the outstanding achievements and contributions of people with brain injuries and those working to support them. 

When asked how it feels to win, Mark Kennedy, said: “Amazing! Incredible! As a public speaker I’m used to being the centre of attention, but this is on another level. It was a lovely surprise and I feel very humbled.”


“One of my biggest challenges is that I’m high functioning. Someone who doesn’t know me or doesn’t know what I’ve been through would look at me and think I’m fine. That’s the thing with a brain injury, the effects are often invisible.


“Looking back at all I have achieved since my brain injury, it sometimes feels surreal. Without my brain injury I wouldn’t have been as determined in life. It has given me a sense of purpose and drive.”

In August 2012, Mark and his wife of 16 years, Jules, were on holiday when Mark passed out in the bathroom, hitting his head on the floor. He sustained a fractured skull and two bleeds on the brain and, like many brain injury survivors, then struggled with fatigue, memory loss, depression, and anxiety. 

Mark received support from two local brain injury charities working to improve the lives of brain injury survivors, Headway Northamptonshire and Headway East Northants. 

Since his injury, Mark has gone on to author and co-author several books. His work includes What the Hell Just Happened?, the story of how he and his wife rebuilt their lives following his brain injury, and Half Man, Half Marathon, which details his running achievements and accomplishments. 

Mark and Jules also run several businesses and have won multiple local business awards in Northamptonshire. In addition, they are the creators of the motivational speaking company Future Toolbox, where they use their own experiences to inspire and empower community groups, brain injury survivors and young people.

Luke Griggs, Headway’s Chief Executive, said: “Mark’s determination to overcome adversity and use his experience of brain injury to make a positive change in the lives of others, is truly inspiring.

“Not only has Mark achieved incredible physical feats with his running, but he has also excelled in establishing his businesses and shown remarkable dedication to empowering other brain injury survivors.

“Mark epitomises what can be achieved after brain injury, and he should be extremely proud of himself.”

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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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