"Together we're not alone"
Over 60 people including young people with acquired brain injuries and their supporters joined a special event we hosted at Chessington World of Adventures Resort at the end of April called “Where’s your head at?”. Young people travelled from across the UK to take part in the unique opportunity to meet others who, like them, have a brain injury, and chat about what life is like. As part of the day Phil Packer MBE, a Vice-President of The Children’s Trust, and Johnson Beharry, the first man to be awarded the Victoria Cross in 20 years, and who famously appeared on ITV’s Dancing on Ice in 2011 despite himself having sustained a brain injury, spoke honestly about their experiences of moving forward after a life changing injury. Since sustaining a spinal cord injury, Phil has been on a journey that has altered his life in ways he could never have predicted. Whilst initially focusing on the physical challenges he faced whilst coping with his spinal cord injury, he admits he remains on a long journey and whilst people see the physical challenges as achievements and think all is well, there is an emotional journey hidden from view. Commenting on the event Phil said: “It was a great pleasure for me to meet young people and their families at The Children’s Trust “Where’s your head at?” event. Families had travelled from all over England to be there and it became clear to me that there is a greater need for more of these excellent events to be held. The day ensured that there was something for everyone. Providing the opportunity for young people and their parents to meet each other, is a superb way to give them the confidence to ask questions and communicate their feelings in a safe and secure environment.” Johnson suffered a brain injury from a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) whilst in active service in Iraq. It left him with a significant brain injury and unable to walk. Through rehabilitation and lots of hard work he relearned many of his lost skills including how to walk, eat, and drive a car. Commenting on the event Johnson said: “I felt the day worked extremely well with the young people who had received brain injury sharing their thoughts and the ways they’ve been affected. I was able to talk about my brain injury and there was lots of discussion and we listened to each other; I certainly learnt a lot and I hope they did too. It was a rare opportunity for the young people to share their feelings with each other.” Young people and their supporters also had the opportunity to take part in an interactive drama led by The Coral Collective and put their questions to a panel of young people. Tom aged 19 who came to the event said: “It was a good day. Just to be able to talk to people and get information was great.” At the end of the event, thanks to the generosity of some of its supporters, we were able to provide each young person and their supporter with a small bag of gifts and information about useful organisations, before enjoying an afternoon at the theme park thanks to Chessington World of Adventures Resort. Thanks to the following who made it possible: Baobella; Buffalo Socks; Cosmopolitan; DaisyPops Cake Pops; Dr. Organic;Esquire; Fluorescent PR; Green People; House of Dorchester; Jane Iredale;Jurlique; Love the Real You; Msquared Communications; Next; The Communications Store; Unique Parties and Zoya. If you are a parent or professional looking for more information about acquired brain injury please visit www.braininjuryhub.co.uk View the video on our YouTube page