Raising awareness of brain injury – Action for brain injury week

April 17, 2014
Cheryl Abrahams - Partner in the Brain Injury Team

Posted by: Cheryl Abrahams


Every year, the main charities who provide vital support for those affected by acquired brain injury campaign to raise awareness of acquired brain injury through “Action for Brain Injury Week”.

Action for Brain Injury Week is also an opportunity for charities to fundraise to ensure their vital work in supporting those affected by brain injury, often a hidden disability, continues.

This year, action for brain injury week takes place between the 12th and 18th May 2014, and we have chosen to support The Child Brain Injury Trust by sponsoring their campaign.

What is acquired brain injury ?

Acquired brain injury is defined as an injury to the brain caused by events after birth, rather than as part of a genetic or congenital disorder. Road accidents are a common cause of acquired brain injury in children and young people, but other causes include falls, assaults, meningitis, brain tumours and cardiac arrest.

Why are we supporting The Child Brain Injury Trust ?

The Child Brain Injury Trust was established in 1991 and supports children, young people and their families to come to terms with the devastating and life-long impact of acquired brain injury.  They say on their website that every 30 minutes, a child or young person will acquire a brain injury. Clearly there are a lot of people who need their support.

The charity operates in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and has a dedicated team of professional staff and volunteers who give their expertise, commitment and enthusiasm every day to supporting those affected by childhood acquired brain injury.

It spends around £600,000 per year on delivering their services to families and professionals. The majority of the money is raised through fundraising and training teams, staff, volunteers and supporters. Very little money is provided by central Government which is shocking.

Their Regional Child and Family Support Co-ordinators are able to provide support during each stage of development, working with the child, the family, teachers, educational specialists, health and social workers, psychologists, and a wide range of professionals to help to demystify acquired brain injury in children, and help to implement appropriate support strategies.  I have seen the difference their support can make and I am so grateful for the help they have given to my clients.

In addition to supporting children and their families, they also provide support to professionals for example with their excellent training.  I have been fortunate to have attended a number of their training courses as well as their annual conference for the last three years.   The conferences brings together a variety of people affected by childhood acquired brain injury, for example, parents, medical professionals, teachers, social workers and lawyers.  The quality of the speakers is excellent.  The most interesting ones are always the parents or the children themselves telling their stories.  These stories are an important reminder of the devastation that brain injury can bring to lives, but also the bravery, determination and hope of these children, young people and their families.  I leave every conference with renewed energy and enthusiasm because I am reminded of the difference compensation can make to a child’s quality of life and recovery.

Last year, the charity came to our offices to deliver their well regarded “Don’t judge a book by its cover” course.  I have attended lots of training courses about brain injury over the last 10 years, but this was unique in that we undertook a variety of tasks designed to help us gain some understanding of what it’s like to be a child with a brain injury.  This was a real eye opener.  Through my work as a personal injury solicitor, I have worked with many people with brain injuries over the years, and so I thought I had some idea of what it might be like. I realised that day that I had no idea at all.  I would recommend this course for everyone working with a child with brain injuries.

So what are we doing to help ?

We are sponsoring The Child Brain Injury Trust’s Action for Brain Injury Week campaign, but more importantly we are getting off our backsides and doing something. Over twenty of my colleagues are joining me in running a four and a half (don’t forget the half !) mile assault course on the 18th May, the final day of action for brain injury week. Why are we doing this ? This answer is to raise money for The Child Brain Injury Trust.

We have been training for the past eight weeks to help us face the challenge of the Kamikaze which includes running up and down muddy hills, crossing rivers, negotiating a barbed wire swamp, climbing sheer walls smeared in grease, crawling through dark tunnels and climbing slippery ropes. Quite a challenge I’m sure you will agree, particularly as we spend most of our time sitting at a desk and some of us haven’t exercised in thirty years!

If you would like to sponsor a bunch of lawyers getting very muddy and generally putting themselves through the mill, then please visit our fundraising page.

The Child Brain Injury Trust is a fantastic charity that is really making a real difference both in terms of those people who are directly affected by acquired brain injury, but also in helping to educate the public and professionals alike as to what living with a brain injury actually means and the support needed to help children and their families adjust and cope with the challenges of brain injury.  We are proud to sponsor The Child Brain Injury Trust’s campaign Action for Brain Injury Week and will do all we can to raise money for such a great cause – even if it involves getting very muddy!

CBIT photo DSC01340

Posted by: Cheryl Abrahams

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