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Brain injury survivors head to Kincardine for activity weekend Main Image

Brain injury survivors head to Kincardine for activity weekend

Fri 07 Sep 2018

Musselburgh couple Jim and Gillian Maryniak having been eagerly anticipating BRAW 2018 ever since they attended the first event in 2017.

BRAW 2018 (Best Relaxation and Activity Weekend) will take place at Tulliallan Castle in Kincardine from Friday, 7 September until Sunday 9 September.

The one-of-a-kind event is designed to help brain injury survivors learn social skills they may have lost after their brain injury and try out activities that are often inaccessible for people with disabilities.

Between 2009 and 2010, Gillian sustained three brain haemorrhages. She also developed a brain tumour, but due to its location in her brain only part of the tumour could be removed.

She underwent radiotherapy to try and shrink the remaining tumour but unfortunately, she was left with a rare condition called SMART syndrome, which stands for 'stroke-like migraine attacks after radiotherapy.'

Gillian also was left with aphasia, a condition that affects people's ability to communicate, and she now finds it difficult to socialise.

But when she attended BRAW 2017, Jim was delighted to watch her come out of her shell as she interacted with other brain injury survivors.

"BRAW is fantastic because the activities are designed to support the needs of brain injury survivors," said Jim.

"Gillian uses a walking aid, or a wheelchair if she's tired, and she finds communication a challenge. But because the activities are geared towards brain injury survivors, she is always able to join in and get the most out of the experience.

"Being among other people that suffer from the same symptoms as she does reminds her that she's not the only one going through this, and that there are people who understand."

As well as giving brain injury survivors the chance to socialise and take part in activities, it gives carers and their families and opportunities to relax.

"It was absolutely fantastic to get away and relax without worrying whether Gillian would be ok, because we were surrounded by people who could support her," said Jim.

"I had a great time," said Jim. "I played walking football, I did some archery and just had a chance to chill."

 

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