Bus tour drives support for brain injuries

DRIVING CHANGE: Mandy Adams, Belinda Adams and Liz Brook  for brain injury awareness.
DRIVING CHANGE: Mandy Adams, Belinda Adams and Liz Brook for brain injury awareness. Rachel Vercoe

THERE'S a big purple bus travelling the nation with the goal of raising awareness about acquired brain injuries and the need for support.

Belinda Adams this week started her five-week Big Bus Tour to Break Down Barriers for Brain Injury Awareness, leaving from Brisbane and stopping at Coffs Harbour on Wednesday to catch up with other families going through the same journey.

Five years ago, Belinda's son Dylan at only 20 years old was in a serious car accident that left him with a brain injury.

"As parents, we're often told we're so lucky that our child survived something they shouldn't have, but there's grief that comes along with it because you lose the child you had, they're a different person.

"You love that child the same but it's still okay to grieve and talk about it,” Belinda said.

"The bus tour is about shining a light on something that's invisible and making it okay.

"The push for community support and awareness is because if we don't have people helping, we don't come together as a community and we don't have employers who are open to employing people with different abilities, then they don't get back to leading a full life.”

At her stopover in Coffs Harbour, Belinda met with Liz Brook, whose son Jake was coward punched at Dorrigo in 2010 and left with a serious brain injury and paralysis down his right side.

At only 18, Jake wasn't expected to live.

He was left with brain damage and now functions as a three- to six-year-old, requiring 24-hour care.

For seven years, Liz and her husband Aaron have taken care of their son at Vallery.

"Once you're out of the brain injury unit, you're pretty much doing it yourself and you're trying to look for that information that isn't readily available,” Liz said.

It's good to be able to talk to people that have gone through exactly the same thing because here, there's not a lot of groups or people you can just go and talk to and say we understand, we know what you're going through.

"We've got to get it out there that people with brain injuries need support too, and the families.

"For us, you're looking at the nightmare every day.

"It's a drain on the families and that's why it's great that Belinda is doing this.

"The families of brain injuries need help as well as the brain injury person.

"The more information and the more awareness out there will help these families.”

Follow Belinda's journey as she drives down the east coast to Sydney, Broken Hill and up through the centre of the country to Alice Springs, over to Mount Isa and Emerald, before heading back down the Queensland coast.

Visit Belinda's BIG Bus Tour to Break Down Barriers for Brain Injury Awareness on Facebook.

Topics:  brain injury

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