Tracy Gardiner, acting Gosport and Fareham Soroptimists president, describes the latest meeting
Many people are surprised to learn that the most common age group for sufferers of head injuries is of young men aged between 16 and 24, members of Gosport and Fareham Soroptimists were told.
‘They ride their motorbikes too fast, they cycle without wearing helmets, they drink and fall over, they play rugby and they fight,’ said Deborah Robinson, service manager for the Portsmouth branch of Headway at the Mountbatten Centre.
Headway is a charity which supports people with brain injuries and their families.
The organisation celebrates its 30th anniversary next year and for all those years, they have worked to help patients restore lost functions.
Injuries can be caused by accident, assault, cardiac arrest, stroke, aneurysm, brain tumour and such.
Headway offers a wide range of services including rehabilitation programmes, carer support, social re-integration, community outreach and respite care.
Deborah said: ‘How well people recover is determined by the extent of their injury and by their attitude.
‘Positive people do well and sometimes patients recover completely, especially if they are young.’
Her informative talk was illustrated in some novel ways. She showed members a model of a brain, made of blancmange because it wobbled slightly just as a brain would.
Several volunteers were given an insight into how difficult it could be to perform a simple task – they were asked to unwrap and eat a sweet while wearing a pair of cumbersome gardening gloves.
The charity works with professionals such as GPs, social workers, occupational therapists and physios, who refer patients to them.
As well as being affected physically, patients can suffer from poor concentration, personality change, poor perception and judgment and fatigue.
‘By improving their self esteem and confidence we can help them rebuild their lives,’ said Deborah.
‘Some people recover well enough to go back to work, or to become volunteers and some become mentors for others with brain injuries.’
Acting Soroptimist president Tracy Gardiner presented Deborah with a cheque for £25 and said: ‘At our last business meeting we voted to select the Portsmouth and South East Hampshire branch of Headway as the main charity to receive our support in 2015-16.
‘We’ll be asking you to come back when we hope to give you a much bigger cheque.’