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Sunderland MP meets survivors of serious brain injuries

Julie Elliott MP meets Headway Wearside members.
Julie Elliott MP meets Headway Wearside members.

One of Wearside’s MPs heard inspirational stories from people who have battled back from serious brain injuries at a charity’s gym session.

Julie Elliott, who represents Sunderland Central, met Headway Wearside members during an activity at Sunderland University to find out more about the vital support they receive from the organisation.

Headway Wearside supports brain injury survivors, their families and carers by providing information and social activities, as well as raising awareness of acquired brain injury.

Members attend weekly sports rehabilitation activities run by the university including gym sessions, walking football and bowling.

Headway member Stephen Sanders suffers from severe speech and mobility problems as a result of his brain injury.

He said: “I was really pleased to meet Julie and explain what it’s like to live with a brain injury, and show her how Headway Wearside helps people like me.”

When Stephen, 59, joined the sports sessions, he had been told he would never walk unaided again.

But thanks to the support of the charity as well as the university’s volunteers, he has defied all expectations and can now walk short distances unaided during gym sessions.

Ms Elliott said: “It was marvellous to see the positive impact Headway Wearside has had on so many people - not only those with acquired brain injuries, but also their families and carers.

“I very much enjoyed talking to members and carers during my visit.

“It is inspiring to see how the beneficial services provided by Headway have helped so many people.”

Paul Brown, chairman of Headway Wearside, said: “I would like to thank Julie for visiting the gym session and finding out more about the work of Headway Wearside.

“We couldn’t provide our essential support and services without our wonderful volunteers and the fundraising efforts from the general public.

“We hope more people will consider fundraising to support survivors like Stephen.”

Rob Graham, sports development officer at Sunderland University, said: “We really enjoyed having the opportunity to showcase some of the amazing volunteering work our students do and the essential service Headway Wearside provides its users.”