Longest Day Walk – Do It Your Own Way

For many people with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) – every day can feel like the longest day adjusting to the change after their injury.

In support and solidarity for anyone whose life has been affected by ABI Headway Essex is launching our inaugural “Longest Day” walk on Sunday 19th June. The event will be held as part of the annual Essex Fun Walk.

Taking part in a challenge for charity can benefit you in ways you’d never think of; providing opportunities to get involved with your community, meet new people whilst improving fitness and how you feel in yourself.

If you can’t join us on the day you can do your own walk during June at your own pace, like Wayne Chivers who completed a 5K walk in 2020, doing a little each day until he reached his goal.

Wayne’s Devastating Brain Injury

Wayne suffered a stroke in 2008 which left him with mobility and speech problems and he was no longer able to carry on in his job as a teacher.

Prior to his injury he had always been fit and active, he played rugby and had run the London Marathon four times. The whole family was so shocked that such a fit and active man could have such a devastating injury. Wayne spent three months in hospital and it was a very scary time for both Wayne and his whole family.

Wayne has been left paralysed down the left side of his body which means he cannot walk far and uses a wheelchair. He also has communication difficulties which he finds frustrating, as he knows what he wants to say but struggles to find the words. The struggle can make every day can feel like the longest day.

Support from Headway Essex

He received support from the Headway Centre in Colchester to help improve his communication and mobility. Wayne and his wife also attended the monthly support group in Colchester where they could meet with others in similar circumstances, and receive peer support. They also received psychological support to help adjust to the effect the changes were having on their lives. Alison said “It was nice to meet other people in a similar situation, the psychologist who helped us was really very effective and helped us through a difficult patch.”

A Fitness Challenge to Complete Your Own Way

During lockdown everything became much tougher for everyone and Alison was looking for a way to support Wayne to get fitter and hopefully feel better in himself. That was when she heard about the Headway Essex Virtual Colour5K. The Colour 5K event that was usually held in June but had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. As a result, Headway Essex organised the Virtual Colour5K encouraging people to cover a distance of 5k wearing bright colours, at their own pace and in their own way.

Alison said “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 get it all set up. 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.

Exceeding Your Goal

Wayne said “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. I anticipated about £200 but never expected to raise over £6000! The encouragement was tremendous because I’ve got loads of friends in Langham, at the school and relatives, etc. The comments are most appreciated.”

Join Headway Essex on the ‘Longest Day’ Fun Walk

If you are inspired by Wayne’s story, will you walk together with us on Sunday 19th June, for our inaugural Longest Day Walk joining the many across Essex walking in solidarity for anyone coping with an ABI?

We walk together, so anyone adjusting to life with an ABI can access the support they need to live a fulfilling life.

For those unable to walk with us on the day, you are welcome to cover a distance of your choice, or cover a short distance each day in June, like Wayne did with some assistance or mobility aid.

For more information and to sign-up visit our Longest Day Walk Event Page.

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