Imagine one minute you’re driving a car with friends and the next you’re waking up at the wheel to the sound of car horns blaring. This is exactly what happened to Irene when she was just 23 years old.
Irene thought she had fallen asleep at the wheel but in fact she had had a seizure. Diagnosed with epilepsy as a child, this was the first time in years and as an adult, that Irene had a seizure.
Out of the blue
Irene had lived a normal life with no sign that anything was wrong for most of her life. Then out of the blue she started experiencing black-outs and seizures.
One of the jolliest people you could hope to meet, Irene has learned to cope with her seizures and make changes to her life. One of the positive changes she has made, is taking part in the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon.
Inspired to help others with brain injury
Truly inspirational, Irene has not let overpowering fatigue get in the way. Twice, she has completed the 10k women’s mini marathon to help others who are living with a brain injury.
And this year, she hopes to inspire you to do the same on 2nd June. Register now!
You can make a difference too!
Irene said: “Acquired Brain Injury Ireland has helped me realise that I’m not alone. Now I have people who understand how I’m feeling. They understand that my brain has to work harder now than it used to, to do everyday things or even to concentrate on a conversation. They get me. I cannot tell you what a difference it makes to have people understand what you’re going through. By taking part in this year’s women’s mini marathon, you can help more brain injury survivors like me.”
Irene has been through it all. In her twenties, she learned the hard way that working and studying was just too much for her body – it brought on too many seizures. But Irene is not one to let things go without a fight. So she set work aside and went on to graduate as a mature student with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Limerick.
A real fighter
She said: “By the time I got to the end of my degree, I was wrecked. I was having so many seizures in the last year because I was under so much pressure. Now I know there’s a limit to what I can do but I’m making the most of it.”
A real fighter, Irene has come through life-threatening brain surgery and months of intense recovery. There’s no doubt her life is different after brain injury, but it’s far from over.
She said: “My memory is brutal because of the operation on the hippocampus area of the brain. And I’m a lot less confident than before. Depression was probably the main side effect. I also find background noise and conversation difficult and I’m not as good at multi-tasking anymore.”
Take each day as it comes
But Irene takes each day as it comes and is a keen member of our women’s group in the Wexford Clubhouse in Drinagh for the last five years. Ever the engineer, she feels very positive about the ability of the brain regrow cells.
She said: “Acquired Brain Injury Ireland has made such a big difference to me. I thought I was alone but now I am surrounded by others who understand. We can just be normal with each other. Even when I’m tired, I still come to the group because it’s my escape and I love being here. It makes a big difference to talk about issues because there’s always someone here who has gone through something similar. And I love the creative exploration and expression. It has really brought out my creative side.”
Brain injuries can happen in the blink of an eye. That’s when you and your family need every support to rebuild your lives. At Acquired Brain Injury Ireland we provide personalised rehabilitation because every brain injury is unique.
Join our team!
Join our women’s mini marathon team today and help raise vital funds for brain injury rehabilitation. Email us today and we’ll pop your fundraising pack in the post!
Don’t forget to register with the event organisers at www.vhiwomensminimarathon.ie
The VHI Women’s Mini Marathon takes place on the June Bank Holiday weekend, on Sunday, 2nd June at 2.00pm. The race starts from Fitzwilliam Street Upper in Dublin City Centre.