Headway Heroes Take Action for Brain Injury Awareness With their Around the Rock Challenge
Tony Abraham and Cameron Arnell will be rowing and cycling the equivalent of 11 times around Jersey in the centre of town from 18th – 24th May in aid of Headway Jersey. Both Tony and Cameron are brain injury survivors and have accessed Headway’s rehabilitation services to assist them with their recovery process. They also both find that exercise and keeping fit and healthy helps them to manage some of the effects a brain injury can cause. The challenge will take place during the charity’s Action for Brain Injury Week and the two fitness fanatics aim to increase awareness about brain injury and raise much needed funds for the charity.
This year Headway Jersey will be aiming to increase awareness about the long term effects a brain injury can cause. Many people with a brain injury will experience side effects throughout their recovery and will often have to accept them as a part of day to day life. Outwardly, the individual appears absolutely fine; however, they will often be battling with ongoing problems including communication difficulties, short term memory loss, headaches, depression, lethargy, exhaustion and damaged senses. Tony and Cameron can relate to this only too well.
Tony Abraham acquired a brain injury from a virus in December of 2011. He became a member of the charity 6 months into his recovery to continue his rehabilitation, receive advocacy support and gain a better understanding of what he was going through.
He now works at Carrefour Gym and keeping fit is a huge part of his life. Like many people who have gone through such a traumatic experience, Tony became depressed after his brain injury and found it hard to find the energy to do things. However, by getting fit and focusing on what he could do he became more motivated to pick up the pieces and move forward with his life. On Saturday 23rd May, Tony will be ‘rowing around the rock on a static rowing machine, supported by Headway Hero Harry McAlinden. This will be his second major fitness challenge in aid of the charity.
“I can see why brain injury is classed as an invisible disability, you look fine on the outside but it greatly affects your confidence and self esteem.”
Cameron Arnell will once again be using pedal power to support the charity and aims to cycle the equivalent twice around the island from Monday 18th – Friday 22nd May. Cameron developed a rare brain infection in 2009 that left him in a coma. The side effects of his brain injury mean he won’t be able to return to work as he still suffers with severe headaches and problems with short term memory. However, like Tony, Cameron is not one to sit still and finds that keeping active reduced the severity of his headaches considerably. Choosing to get fit and healthy has helped Cameron to become motivated and adopt a positive outlook on a life changing experience.
“Acquiring a brain injury is like having to start over again. You have to work out what you can and can’t do and the hardest bit is accepting these changes.”
The fitness challenge will be taking place outside BHS from Monday 18th – Saturday 23rd May. There will also be a stand in the centre of with a number of activities that can give the public an idea of what some of the effects of brain injury may be like.
Keep up to date with how the challengers are doing on our Facebook page!