Go Wild for Headway and the art of positivity

June 28, 2019

Posted by: Heather Petrie


Nicole and I are two of the firm’s resident adrenaline induced fundraising junkies, having already survived free fall abseiling and sky diving for charity; we agreed to come back for more by taking part in this year’s Go Wild for Headway Corporate Challenge. It was truly an incredible and exhilarating experience.

The need for a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)

The mantra: Positivity, it is a state of mind.

The consequence: If you can operate with a PMA there is nothing that can stop you and nothing you cannot achieve. (Within reason: gravity exists / humans cannot fly / 1 slice of pizza is never enough / maths is not for everyone etc. etc. – you get the point!)

The importance of having a PMA is just one of the things that taking part in the Go Wild for Headway Corporate Challenge helped to reinforce and is something we have truly taken away with us.

Truth be told, we hadn’t even realised this until Headway’s ambassador, and former Paralympian, Jack Rutter pointed this out to us in his fantastic post-challenge talk, but more on that later!

The Go Wild for Headway challenge

Go Wild Experiences is a company in the Lake District that takes office desk dwellers under their wing and helps them to find and channel their inner Bear Grylls, in order to raise much needed and invaluable money for charity.

Headway (the brain injury association) and Go Wild teamed up to put a group of just under 50 said desk dwellers through our paces, for a 1.5 day outdoor adventure challenge / extravaganza.

We arrived in Coniston bright eyed and bushy tailed and were split into three teams. We found ourselves in team 2 (which was fortunate because team 2 was obviously by far the best team).

Group of people on a hill

Heather and Nicole’s group – Team 2

We were then introduced to the head honcho Dan, who was all too keen to outline what he had in store for us. He explained that we would be taking on:

  • Hiking
  • Scrambling
  • Caving
  • Dark tunnelling
  • Cave sliding
  • Cliff jumping
  • Abseiling
  • Zip wiring
  • And then more hiking and scrambling for good measure

It was a walk in the park – Jurassic Park.

Each challenge tested us in exciting and different ways. For those scared of water, the cliff jumping and caving pushed them to their limits; for those scared of heights, the abseiling and zip wiring were the ultimate psych out; for those with little legs – well, let’s just say that the scrambling felt like a personal attack. The adrenaline coursed through everyone’s veins throughout the challenge.

Nicole Julio James from Bolt Burdon Kemp on a zipwire

Nicole abseiling hands-free

There were some prizes to be won along the way for certain achievements and I am pleased to report that I won a bottle of champagne for my theatrical efforts and posing on the zip wire.

Heather Petrie from Bolt Burdon Kemp on a zipwire

Heather’s winning zipwire pose…

Heather Petrie from Bolt Burdon Kemp with a bottle of champagne

…. and her prize

We took part in all of the unrelenting challenges and lived to tell the tale. It was a fantastic experience and was certainly worth the bruises and aching that ensued afterwards. Well done to all of our team mates and everyone else who took part with us!

Headway – the reason for putting ourselves through this challenge

To explain why putting ourselves through all of the above was so worthwhile, we have to of course mention a bit about Headway, a fantastic charity that is very close to our hearts for those of us working in the Adult Brain Injury Team here at Bolt Burdon Kemp.

Headway primarily assists people who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury. However, not only do they provide guidance, support and services to the individual who has suffered, but also to their family members.

It is fundamentally important that family members are also considered and helped; we are who we are because of those around us, those who help support us through tough times. It is vital that family members are supported so they can in turn support the person suffering with the brain injury. Headway has offered life changing support to so many people and they absolutely deserve our support, even if that means putting on a second hand, damp wetsuit and jumping off a cliff into freezing cold water!

Headway did a fantastic job of roping us into the Go Wild challenge and making all of the necessary arrangements.

After our manic and adrenaline fuelled day, we headed back to Coniston Sport Centre for a good old fashioned BBQ, live music and quiz. We also had the absolute pleasure of listening to a talk presented by Luke Griggs (Director of Communications at Headway) and Jack Rutter.

Luke Griggs and Jack Rutter from Headway standing on stage giving speeches

Luke Griggs and Jack Rutter from Headway addressing the challenge participants

Jack Rutter is a Headway Ambassador and former Paralympian. For all of us lucky enough to listen to his talk, it was abundantly clear that he is passionate about providing a voice and guidance to those who have suffered a brain injury. Jack tragically suffered a traumatic brain injury himself at a young age which halted his professional football career; his passion in life.

Jack did not hold back and gave us all a real insight to the pain and struggle involved in life after brain injury. He described his personal journey using real and relatable examples. Like many people who suffer an acquired brain injury, he went through a dark period and suffered with mental health issues. He fought through this period with the help and support of his family members and the assistance provided by Headway.

What did this teach him? It taught him that having a positive attitude will change your life and see you through. He explained that with a positive attitude you can achieve your goals and push yourselves to do things you thought you couldn’t. He laughed and looked at us all in the room and rightly pointed out that is what many of us had done that day. There were plenty of people in the room who said that they would not be able to complete some of the challenges, yet with the right attitude and help from their team mates they did!

It was at this moment we realised we had done more than complete some physical challenges; we had entered a state of complete PMA and inadvertently gone out of our way to support each other and people who only a few hours earlier were complete strangers to us.

The services that were offered to Jack and his family by Headway changed his life in a positive way and helped him on his path to PMA and Paralympic footballing success. It was a pleasure to listen to Jack as he shared his journey with us. He is a perfect example of why Headway is such an important charity and resource for brain injured people.

Group of people with medals who took part in Go Wild For Headway 2019

The participants of Go Wild for Headway 2019 with their medals

The Go Wild for Headway Corporate Challenge was a truly wonderful and fulfilling experience and we look forward to practicing the art of positivity to refine and improve our new found PMA!

If you would like to make a donation to support Headway’s wonderful work we would really appreciate it.

Heather Petrie is a solicitor at Bolt Burdon Kemp specialising in Adult Brain Injury claims. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, contact Heather free of charge and in confidence on 020 7288 4862 or at heatherpetrie@boltburdonkemp.co.uk. Alternatively, complete this form and one of the solicitors in the Adult Brain Injury team will contact you. Find out more about the Adult Brain Injury team.

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Posted by: Heather Petrie

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