A fundraising chat at the 19th!!

Jamie SpenceIt was Headway West Kent’s fund raising Golf Day, Friday 13th May 2016.

What a great successful day, the sun was blazing, the mood was joyful and everyone involved was a delight to talk to.

So the golfers done their thing in the morning around the beautiful 18 hole course of Nevill Golf Course, Tunbridge Wells.

I managed to have a one to one chat with a professional golf called Jamie Spence, I got a picture of him in action as above. He was also our guest speaker at our lunch today.

I also had been given the honour of speaking after Jamie Spence in front of just under a 100 people I’d never met before.

So I wrote my speech a few days before the event and Lisa Rye ( CEO of Headway West Kent) tweaked my speech very slightly and stuck it on card for me to make it easier to hold.

It was a great challenge for me, and I knew I had to give it my best shot, pardon the pun, I had a lot of great feedback after my speech which I didn’t expect, and I hope I made a few more people aware of this invisible disability which goes unnoticed by so so many people.

So this is my speech:

My name is Dean Strachan, I am 48 years old, I know, it’s hard to believe, I often pinch myself in the morning to double check.

Just a year ago l was a highly qualified gas boiler engineer running my own business. I had reached the end of an average day fitting a new boiler and was clearing up in a client’s loft, when as I descended their loft-ladder, it collapsed!

l was driven head first to the floor. It all occurred in a split second, but has had a lifelong impact on my life, my family’s life and also my friends lives – well, the friends who stayed around that is!

Ripping the signage from my vans was one of my saddest early moments of this crisis when I knew I would never work in the business again and the vans had to be sold. I had been one of the 2% of the nation’s gas installers who held the prestigious official Accredited Installer status with the industry leaders, Worcester Bosch.

So…

Headway West Kent.

What’s it all about?

It’s about helping people like me.

People like me who appear to be, excuse the expression “NORMAL”.

Brain injury is an invisible disability not recognised most of the time.

The support Headway has given me is difficult to put into words, but what I can say is that I would be a broken man now without them.

With Headway West Kent’s help I now have my head in the clouds, and this picture I took over Pembury, Tunbridge Wells represents my thoughts.

Head in the clouds

Headway is my safe place in the world.

HOME IS MY SECOND SAFE PLACE!

I struggle with family life. I have 3 children living at home, Grace 7, Harry 10 and Savine 18. Daisy 19, my eldest lives at Crayford.

I struggle with routine, even though I need it.

I struggle with organisation, as I need constant prompting.

E.g. making a cup of tea. I put the cup on the side, put in the tea bag, then it starts to go wrong. I may forget to add the hot water after the kettle has boiled or I add the hot water and forget to remove the tea bag and add milk. Sometimes maybe 20 minutes later I think where’s my tea?, or I forget about it all together.

Simple tasks which you would do yourself like ordering a drink from the bar is a big deal for someone with brain injury.

Firstly, you have the anxiety as you go to the bar, you may stutter a bit giving your order, you would be reciting the 4 drinks you have to remember over and over in your head, you’ve ordered 2 drinks, you think your halfway there, then the bar attendant asks you “ice and lemon?”. Damn! You hesitate, you think about the question, you can see the bar attendant waiting for a response with bated breath. There are other people looking at you waiting to give their drink orders. So in the panic you answer with the 1st answer you think of, whether its right or wrong. Then the dreaded question, “Anything else?”. Your mind turns to mush, and you totally forget any of the other drinks, even if its your own drink. You return to the table with half the drinks to find out who you’ve missed out and it’s usually the Mrs!!

So next time you’re in a queue behind someone who seems to be taking their time, just give a moments thought that they may have a brain injury and they are trying their best!

I’m also hypersensitive to noise, you will often see me in my hoodie which helps to deflect the noise.

I suffer with anxiety, low mood, daily headaches/migraines, poor body temperature control, poor balance, slow information processing, poor short term memory and attention impairment, fatigue and a disruptive sleep pattern.

Apart from that I’m on top form!

So what am I doing now you may ask? Or perhaps it would be easier if you asked me what am I not doing now??

I am one of the lucky ones who can still drive, so I have some independence. l have a new circle of amazing friends at Headway, which includes the staff, volunteers and clients. We do various activities, theatre trips, meals out, Tia Chi, Pottery, Gardening, Relaxation classes, quizzes, scrabble, to name a few.

I have also started to go bird watching with my dad. The feathered type that is.

This got me into Photography which is my new found passion, and I hope my skills will continue to improve.

I have also started a blog a couple of months ago.

I have started a Headway sponsored weight loss challenge which I’m halfway through.

Life for now is a challenge — A NEW AND UNEXPECTED ONE!!

Thank you for listening!

So, thank you to Richard (Dickie) for introducing the speakers, Jamie Spence ( Team Leader UK Golf Team for this years Olympics in Rio), Lisa Rye ( CEO Headway West Kent ), Jennifer ( Fundraiser Headway West Kent), Nevill Golf Course, Tunbridge Wells, everyone else involved in arranging the golf event and last but not least the golfers who entered the fundraising golf event.

Thanks for reading my blog, speak soon x

16 thoughts on “A fundraising chat at the 19th!!

  1. Hi Dean – A brilliant piece. My sister Donna works at Headway and speaks very highly of you. God bless you and good luck with your photography. Penny xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Dean – well done with this piece. It’s great to read. So informative; insightful and very valuable to the other people sharing your unforeseen difficulties. This blog is a vital contribution to the great work done by Headway West Kent.. It has been a privilege to get to know you and I really hope that the Courier finally picks up on your story. Congratulations. Please don’t stop writing – ever!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Martin, perhaps the Courier are not very interested in our story, it will be a shame if they don’t, as it is denying other people who read they Courier an insight into unforeseen difficulties a brain injury can cause. Thanks again for your support. Speak soon.

      Like

      1. The Courier is definitely interested. I sense we now know that – just a matter of time. Don’t worry. We will beat on their door!! Meet up again soon. Best wishes

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Dean. Your story has made the Courier this week (Friday 3 June) – page 46. Your personal contribution at the golf event surely clinched their decision to run a story. Congratulations.

    Martin

    Liked by 1 person

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