Out of the Blue: Headway & brain injury awareness

Animation, courtesy of Headway.

Geneva Pattison

The charity Headway has just released a new awareness campaign and animation this week called Out of the Blue, to raise awareness about the impact of brain injuries and hidden disabilities related to brain injuries. The initiative was a joint venture, created by Headway clients and film and media students in IADT. Headway is a community based charity that works with people who have experienced any type of brain injury, from any cause, to help them come to terms with their new diagnosis and help them navigate their new life.

As stated by Headway in their recent press release, brain injuries come in many forms and affect a large proportion of people:

“[A brain injury] is usually caused by a sudden and unexpected event that
could happen to anyone – a stroke, a bleed on the brain, an infection, a tumour, a fall or a traffic accident, for example. It is estimated that up to 30,000 people in Ireland, of working age, are living with the long-term consequences of a brain injury.”

Client Una Elliot and Headway worker Ruth Lunnon, courtesy of Headway.

The fundraising team for Headway is led by the clients who have benefitted from the services of the charity and members of the fundraising group have been featured in their new animation on brain injury. One such member, Derek Cummins, along with Headway staff, approached the Co-chair of IADT’s Animation Programme to bring this project into being.

“One of the group, Derek Cummins, who suffered a
stroke, previously worked on another animation with the IADT when he was a patient at the National Rehabilitation Hospital, also in Dun Laoghaire. Derek and Headway staff member, Sara Sabbioni, approached David Quin, Co-Chair of the Animation Programme in IADT’s Department of Film and Media, earlier this year, to propose a joint project. One of David’ animation students, Jessie Flynn, came on board along with Ruth Lunnon, Headway’s Information & Support Officer. Another vital piece of the jigsaw fell into place when Sara secured funding from the Dublin Northwest
Partnership Community Fund.”

The key messages that Headway would like the public to take from the animation are:

A brain injury can happen to anyone at anytime in their lives.

It’s not something you have to suffer alone, help is available from Headway.

Brain injuries can have hidden debilitating factors such as communication problems, changes to how a person thinks or feels, but everyone can get support.

Finally, and most importantly, that life can be good again after a brain injury.

The fundraising group decided that creating a positive message surrounding brain injury and recovery was an important focus. When broaching such a serious and lifechanging subject, they wanted to let viewers know “that life doesn’t stop after a brain injury”, as mentioned by Derek.

IADT student Jessie Flynn designed the animation, guided by Derek and his fellow Headway clients: Una Elliot, David O’Hara, Deirdre O’Brien and Caroline Leonard, who hail from all over Dublin and as far afield as Enniskerry.

Animation, courtesy of Headway.

Deirdre O’Brien has said of the experience making the animation and in relation to her rehabilitation care with Headway:

“I am very grateful to have been part of this project – it
was a great experience…. The support and encouragement I have got
from Headway has really helped me get my life back together.”

To watch the new Headway brain injury awareness animation, watch via the YouTube link below.

Headway’s services are free and funded by government grants and public donations. Visit headway.ie if you would like to contribute.

To find out more information about Headway services visit https://headway.ie