I had the pleasure of joining Rosie Wilson yesterday at The Dorchester where she won a national Headway Campaigner of the Year award for her determined fight to stamp out suicide internet sites. Her lovely daughter Ziggy had tried to commit suicide in June 2007 aged 23 after scanning a number of internet sites that provide detailed instructions to young people about how to kill themselves, even offering suggestions about what to write in a suicide letter to their parents. It’s absolutely sickening. Ziggy suffered from depression at the time and was been left brain injured; she is one of our service users at Headway Cambridgeshire.
I was delighted to hear that Rosie has successfully been liaising with MP Madeleine Moon who chairs the all party parliamentary group on Suicide and Self Harm Prevention, though It’s a bitter sweet victory for Rosie, and an emotional reminder of why she started her campaign in the first place. I will also do whatever I can to support Rosie’s campaign.
UPDATE: I thought you might like to know about some of the other inspirational award winners. It’s a salutary lesson about how an acquired brain injury can happen to any of us on any day, without warning, and I feel privileged to work with them as chair of trustees at Headway Cambridgeshire.
Achiever of the Year: This was awarded to Dominic Hurley, a handsome young man who I have met at Headway conferences and he always impresses me with his warm smile,lovely nature and his enthusiasm. Doctors predicted Dom wouldn’t walk or talk again after he fell off a moped in Cyprus in 1994 and sustained a serious brain injury. However, Dom was defied all predictions to make a remarkable recovery. Having made it his mission to stay active, he regularly completes 24 and 48-hour bikeathons that have helped him raise more than Â£50,000 for Headway Rotherham. He is also party of the Cycling GB squad and hopes to compete in the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Carer of the Year: David Knox, 63, from Dunbar who has devoted his life to caring for his brain injured wife Anne while also looking after their children, one of whom suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. Anne suffered a stroke in 1992 aged 40 and is confined to a wheelchair, which means David has to help with washing and dressing her. In his limited spare time, David also helps out at Headway East Lothian which has supported the couple, by taking service users out shopping.
Volunteer of the Year: Brenda Williams, who has been a supporter of Ipswich and East Suffolk Headway for the past 15 years. Originally involved in giving free speech and language therapy to service users, she became a trustee in 2001. Sadly, tragedy struck in 2008 when she was involved in a road traffic accident and she suffered a stroke that left her with a brain injury. It didn’t stop Brenda from continuing her vital work as a volunteer supporting staff and management.