Guest blog from Lisa Turan of the Child Brain Injury Trust
My name is Lisa Turan and I have been CEO of the Child Brain Injury Trust since 2003. My job is full of challenges and rewards, but most importantly it's about the families the charity supports
Bones can mend but a brain injury no matter how it's caused will last forever! A child's brain takes around 23 years to fully develop and to become fully functional, if it is damaged at any stage during this development stage then the affects can be catastrophic. Every 30 minutes a child or young person acquires a brain injury as a result of an accident, illness or clinical negligence. As you can imagine this traumatic and devastating event affects everyone involved and as such support is required to help re-build lives.
Matthew* was born normally in Feb 2009 and developed normally until April 2010 when he had a cardiac arrest whilst in hospital for upper airway infection (croup). During this time he suffered lack of oxygen and blood flow to his brain. The effects of this meant he was in hospital for six months and lost his ability to do everything except lay in his bed, no sight, no hearing, no movement.
To support Matthew and his family we provided an initial listening ear for his parents to help them make sense of what was going on, we provided information so that they could learn about what the future might hold. We visited the family at home to find out what their immediate concerns were and we helped them organise benefits to help with care for Matthew. We continue to support the family and they have become an active family in 'our' family. It's stories like this that make the work we do so meaningful.
More children are now surviving brain injury than ever before which means many more families are affected by this devastating and traumatic condition. When brain injury happens, lives change forever, dreams are changed and coming to terms with the lifelong affects takes time to adjust to. Often families feel isolated and friends drift away at a time when you need them the most. Some conditions are not are not even associated with childhood acquired brain injury such as hypoxic injuries, poisoning and rare conditions such as kernicterus which is a form of brain damage caused by excessive jaundice after birth if not treated appropriately. Whatever the cause brain injury lasts a lifetime and affects the whole family.
At the Child Brain Injury Trust we work hard with the family to help them adjust to their new found situation with direct support, social activities, information recourses and training for those supporting the child or young person.
We aim to raise £1m a year to provide support for this much needed and often hidden cause and it's hard to do in times of austerity and hardship. However, families have a harder time and that is our motivation. To help as many families as possible who live with the effects of brain injury.
Chief Executive Officer