Our Everyday Heroes


 

Q&A with Peter Marshall 

1. What is your name, age and where you are from?

Peter Marshall, aged 53. At the time of my accident I was living in Kununurra with my family.

 2. What is your connection/story with brain injury?

In 2013 I suffered a severe brain injury as a result of a cycling accident. We had come down to Perth for our annual summer holiday and I brought my bike along as I was training to run a marathon later that year and thought cycling would be good training for me. On the morning of Jan 11th I set out for an early morning bike ride along Marmion Ave and was hit by a car pulling out from a side road. I have no memory of the accident at all and suffered from post-traumatic amnesia for the next 3 weeks. 

My last memory from before the accident was going to see the latest James Bond movie with my son the previous day. Apart from a broken elbow and damaged collarbone, I had a subarachnoid haemorrhage (bleeding on the brain). I spent a week in Royal Perth Hospital, then the next six weeks in Shenton Park Rehab (where I spent my 50th birthday!).

After discharge I was regularly seeing physiotherapists, OTs and psychologists. Recovery seemed to go well and I returned to part-time work about six months later. I had my hopes on returning to Kununurra to work but after a few more months I hit a brick wall with fatigue. Although physically fully recovered I found it difficult to work more than a few hours without needing to rest. 

The fatigue was mental rather than physical. Having to think about even simple tasks caused "fuzzy" brain which I found extremely frustrating. I would often forget things such as people's names, or would always misplace things. Sleep is the only way to recharge the batteries.

Luckily my employer has found me a part-time position in Perth which is where I am now. Although it is not a full time position at least I feel that I am making some useful contribution.

Headwest comment: Mental fatigue is one of the most commonly reported symptoms following a brain injury. Extreme fatigue follows any mental activity and it takes a disaproportionally long to time to recover. This exhausation can interefere with participation in work, home and social activities and therefore has a huge impact on ones quality of life. Headwest recommends reading this fantastic booklet 'Managing fatigue after brain injury' (click title to download the brochure) written by Headway in the UK. Another great resource is 'ABI - the facts (click title to download book) produced by Synpase in Queensland.

3. What are the most important things for you in your ongoing recovery?

Support of family and friends is really important. I am lucky enough to be married to a nurse that knew the road to recovery would be a long one. Without her support I doubt that my recovery would have gone so well.

Having a positive attitude, while sometimes difficult, is vital. Staying active has helped with the positive attitude and also helped with the fatigue.

Recognising and accepting my limitations has been a giant leap forward in my recovery. It has only taken me three years to realise that!

 4. Words of wisdom you can offer to someone else / or family member dealing with brain injury.

It's a long road to recovery but things do get better. Remember the glass is half-full!

Don't be too shy to accept support from family or friends. 

It's fine to set goals but don't be unrealistic. If you find you can't reach your goal then change it to something that is more achievable.

Keep an open mind to suggestions from professionals. Sometimes they know what they're talking about!

Stay positive.

5. Why did you choose to run in the Run for a Reason?

The last 3 years have been challenging to say the least for both myself and my family. However I have been very fortunate to have some fantastic help as I have travelled down the road to recovery. Now is the time to give something back. I decided to run the HBF fun run with my son and daughters and at the same time raise awareness for victims of head injuries and their families.

6. Why did you choose Headwest as you charity to support?

I chose Headwest WA, as they do such an extraordinary job helping those with brain injuries.

7. When did you start training and how often did you train?

We began light training about a month beforehand. Every Sunday morning my daughters and I got up early to run around the local lake.

8. How did you feel after the race?

An enormous sense of well-being!

9. Would you like to do the race again or a similar challenge?

Even though I missed out three years ago, I'd still like to try and run a marathon. I would also like to one day take part in the Gibb River Road bike challenge (Derby to Kununurra) and raise money for the local community as a way to repay them for the help and support I received when I was initially in hospital.

Thank you so much Peter for taking the time to talk to Headwest and for choosing us as his charity. Your donations make our work possible. Here are just some of the ways your money helps:

1) carrying out systemic advocacy and taking action on issues which are currently affecting, or in the future likely to affect, people with a brain injury.
2) setting up and running support and peer groups for individuals and families affected by brain injury
3) education and training - increasing community awareness of brain injury.

If you would like to make a donation to Headwest please visit our Everyday Hero page at:

https://nfp.everydayhero.com/au/headwest-brain-injury-association-of-wa-inc

Thank you