This week is Acquired Brain Injury Week and the theme of the week is 'See the Hidden Me' – which is all about brain injury often being invisible. Solicitors in our Neurolaw team at Hugh James discuss the support they have given to the Headway Fundraising Committee:
Charlotte Fletcher, Senior Associate:
I have been a member of the Fundraising Committee for Headway Cardiff and South East Wales for the last four years. During this time, I have helped to arrange and volunteer at a number of different events, from ball dinners to quizzes and our now annual afternoon tea. As a fundraising team we get together every few weeks to plan ahead and think up new and creative ways of supporting this incredibly worthwhile charity.
As with everything, fundraising was particularly hard during the covid pandemic when face to face and larger events had to stop. Sadly, this included our 2021 afternoon tea which fell just inside the winter lockdown and so had to be cancelled at what felt like the very last minute.
In contrast, the last few weeks have been incredibly busy and exciting! Headway Cardiff and South East Wales was chosen as the charity of the year by the Radyr and Morganstown Association who hold various events throughout the year, many of which are held during a two week festival at the beginning of May. The first event of the year, held just before the May festival was a ‘Hats for Headway’ coffee morning arranged by the Radyr WI where I volunteered along with Kate Coles from the Neurolaw Department at Hugh James. This event raised a massive £1,200.
During the two week festival Hugh James has had people volunteering for Headway Cardiff and South East Wales at all of the headline events, to include the ‘happy hat parade’, dog and tractor show, trail running race, concert and BBQ as well as the ‘Brain Games’ held at Radyr Primary School. It has been a really busy few weeks and it will be exciting to hear the final total raised! Living within Radyr and Morganstown, it has also been fantastic to see the profile of the charity raised within the community and particularly within the local schools.
As a Senior Associate in the Court of Protection team at Hugh James all of my clients have suffered from severe life changing brain injuries. Many of these clients, and their loved ones, have benefited from the fantastic services and support provided by Headway Cardiff and South East Wales and being a member of the Fundraising Committee is a brilliant way to allow me to support the important work that they do.
Anu Manda, Solicitor:
In March 2022 I was incredibly excited to join the Fundraising Committee for Headway Cardiff and South East Wales having learnt so much about the charity during my time in the Hugh James Neurolaw department.
I joined in the midst of busy preparations for the Radyr and Morganstown Festival 2022 which has hosted an exciting variety of events between 30 April 2022 – 15 May 2022 with all proceeds going to Headway Cardiff and South East Wales.
During the last two weeks I have enjoyed helping at several events such as the Trail Races, The Concert in Radyr Park and the Closing Concert. Volunteering at these events included selling raffle tickets, holding donation buckets, and most importantly answering questions about the work that Headway does. It has been uplifting to see many of our colleagues at Hugh James also volunteer their time to help.
In the lead up to Action for Brain Injury Week 2022, one event in particular has stood out to me.
The Brain Games was hosted by Dr Emma Hale at Radyr Primary School and involved challenges for children of all ages. My highlights included a brain bouncy castle, drawing brains on each other using markers and swimming caps, and making neurons out of pipe cleaners.
However, the most compelling task was watching the children test out the ‘Stroop Test’. They raced against each other on mats with colours written along them. In one lane, the colours were written in the same font as the word, for example Red, Blue, Orange. In the next lane, the colours were written in a different colour, for example Red, Blue, Orange.
The challenge was to run along the mat and shout out the colour that you see, not the colour that you read.
This task highlighted the complex workings within the brain. During the Stroop Test the brain is receiving two pieces of information. In one lane, both sets of information (the word itself and the colour of the word) were consistent. In the other lane, both sets of information were different.
In theory, running along the second lane seems easy. You understand what the task is. You understand how to complete it. However, it became quickly apparent that the children in the second lane were unable to complete the task as quickly as their classmates in the first lane, solely due to the way our brains work. The children running along the second lane always lost the race.
The theme of ABI week 2022 is ‘see the hidden me’. The Stroop Test struck me as a useful demonstration of the way that the brain’s inner workings can help or hinder us, and in ways that many of us cannot foresee. We act for many clients who struggle with simple daily activities due to the impact of a life changing brain injury, a hidden disability which can make life so much more challenging for reasons that can be difficult to explain.
The Neurolaw department at Hugh James are active supporters of Headway having seen the difference it has made to the lives of many of our clients. More information about Headway can be found on their website.