We Interviewed the Incredible Wayne Chivers!

One of our supporters, Wayne Chivers, who received help from Headway Essex, decided to take on our Virtual Colour5K.

Wayne, who suffered a stroke in 2008, which left him paralysed down his left side of the body, has been walking from his greenhouse and back, every day for a month.

Not expecting to raise more than £200, Wayne has gained a huge following of supporters from all around the world and raised almost £7,000 and counting! We caught up with Wayne and his wife, Alison over Zoom to talk about his history with Headway Essex, his determination despite his injury, and why he loved taking part in the Virtual Colour5K so much.

‘I’m most grateful, thankful and determined by what I have’

Hello Wayne, could you please introduce yourself?

Wayne: I’m Wayne Chivers obviously and I’m Welsh, I don’t know if you know that. I was a teacher for 20 years at East Bergholt High School, the children and the people have been very good to me.

When did you become involved with Headway Essex?

Wayne: About three years ago, I was involved with them at the Headway Centre off Boxted Road. I had some physiotherapy work done and it’s been very, very good.

Alison: And we joined the group, the family group. We went up there for social evenings and to meet other people.

How did your brain injury occur?

Wayne: I was down the allotment, as you see I’m a very keen vegetable grower. I had a stroke, collapsed, and was paralysed all down my left-hand side. I was in the hospital for 3 months.

How did you feel at the time of your brain injury?

Wayne: Well I was very very frustrated, very very scared. But I remember looking around the beds at the other people and they all had brain damage and I thought I’m not in this alone.

Why did you decide to take part in the Virtual Colour5K?

Wayne: Well my daughter who is in Australia, promoted it. I’m stubborn and determined, and I’ve got to get to the greenhouse twice a day so I thought I’d make it worthwhile.

Did you ever imagine you would raise so much money?

Wayne: I anticipated about £200 but over £6,000 pounds! The comments have been tremendous because I’ve got loads of friends in Langham, loads of friends at the school and relatives, etc. I’m not in it for the money at all but the comments are most appreciated.

Do you want to say anything to your supporters?

Wayne: Yes, I’m most grateful, thankful, and determined by what I have. I must say thank you to everyone who has sponsored me.

Before the injury, you were quite an active person right?

Wayne: I’ve done the London Marathon four times and being Welsh, I’m very very good at rugby. A lot of my rugby friends from the past have given me some comments and sponsorship.

Are there any side effects to your brain injury?

Wayne: Well I know what I want to say but I get frustrated a lot because I can’t say it, it’s all “ickaly pickaly!” But I’m determined, determined is what you’ve got to be.

Any comments about Headway Essex?

Wayne: They are fantastic, I keep saying they are fantastic but the enthusiasm and support is really really good!

Do you get frustrated at all?

Wayne: I’m frustrated that I can’t do the gardening anymore down the allotment but Alison does that and I try my best to help her.

Alison, what was it like for you when Wayne got his injury?

Alison: I was very scared. I’ve never heard of a stroke before and the hospital called and said he had an accident at the allotment so I was expecting a fork through his foot but they kept phoning back saying you must come now. And then gradually one by one the children arrived and we were all really shocked that somebody so fit as Wayne could have such a devastating accident. We decided to only look forward and work with Wayne to help him make a good recovery.

How did Headway Essex help you and your family?

Alison: The family group introduced me to other people who have a brain injury, some who had just fallen down the stairs, and others who had something terrible happen to them, which shocked me. It was nice to meet other people in a similar situation, the psychologist who helped us was really very effective, helped us through a difficult patch. Basically, they’re there for the support and kindness, and not worried about putting themselves out to help you.

Did you ever imagine Wayne would raise so much money?

Alison: My objective in this was to make him take more exercise and I knew that if I said you must walk more, he would have just said no. So I organised with the kids for them to encourage him and Rachel got it all set up and we were bracing ourselves for him to be cross about having been entered into it but he’s really loved it, absolutely enjoys the challenge, is delighted to read again and again, all the comments that people have written about him and written to him. And yeah, he is going to carry on walking, I think he’ll do at least 10k by the end of the summer.

It’s good for his health and really good for his self-esteem. He’s got a purpose in the morning, he’s got to get up and get going. Thank you everybody for their donation, I can’t believe people’s generosity and kindness.

Want to Help People Like Wayne?

If you have been inspired by Wayne Chivers’s story you can still donate to his fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wayne-chivers.

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