My name is Adrian and I was hit by a car on October 28, 1987- 2 days before my 14th birthday. I was knocked off my bike and landed on the road head first.
I woke up after being unconscious for 4 weeks. I suffered Acquired Brain Injury- unable to walk, talk and very minimal use of the left side of my body.
Doctor said that I will slowly improve over the next 2 years, but talking will be the last to improve. I was determined to prove him wrong, so I started talking after a month. It took me 6 months to be able to get out of my wheelchair and then another 6 months to walk unaided (albeit slowly!).
After 1 year, I went back to school part-time. I traveled from school to hospital appointments daily. It was difficult for me, as I had to deal with the pressures of school and rehabilitation concurrently, but I managed to adapt, grow and continue through and pass year 12.
After school I worked for a while selling lollies door to door (where I ended up eating half my profits!), until I got a job working at a clothing wholesaler in Carlton. And I’m still here 26 years later.
I’ve had many adventures along the way- many times I fell over and had to pick myself up (both metaphorically and physically!).
Although I had visited camp in 2016, as part of a research study being undertaken with Heads Together and Monash University looking at the experience of a recreational camp for families with a child or young person with acquired brain injury, my first ‘real’ camp was in May 2017 as a family volunteer.
It was a weekend which blew me away. I got to know my volunteer family and spend time with them. I met other families. I met other volunteers. We talked, played games that made us laugh, and danced at the disco. I was touched to hear people share stories and experiences at the Fire of Friendship, but it was Magic Moments which really moved me. I thought that as I was a new volunteer, I wouldn’t really be in people’s minds. But for each statement read out, I felt a hand touch me and I realised that in some way people remembered me.
What do I get out of volunteering? As a neuropsychology student and researcher, being at camp gives a human story to ABI and reminds me to keep that story foremost in my mind and in my work. As a person, volunteering at camp reminds me to face challenges head on – and always try to see the sunny side of things. Thank you for the opportunity to join the Heads Together community. I look forward to many more camps!