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Fun and laughter at Headway BRAW 2019

Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending time with fellow badass brain injury warriors at Headway BRAW 2019. It was my first Best Relaxation and Activity Weekend experience and I had so much fun!

BRAW is an annual event where brain injury survivors and carers from Headway groups from all across Scotland come together for a weekend of activities, relaxation and therapies. This year it was held at Tulliallan, the Scottish Police College. The grounds are stunning and it’s a beautiful location to spend a few days. We even got sunshine!

I had the chance to go to BRAW 2018 but it was just 6 months after the fall that gave me my brain injury post-concussion syndrome and I wasn’t able to go. Safe to say, having heard so much about it, I was super excited for BRAW 2019.

 

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Lots to do at BRAW 2019

There was absolutely loads on offer for us to take part in both on-site and organised trips. If you fancied a morning or afternoon out you could go on a trip to the Falkirk Wheel, take a steam train on the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway or go on a bus tour of the Trossachs.

On-site there were heaps of activities to choose from including adapted bikes from Beyond Boundaries East Lothian, arts and crafts, reflexology, massage, swimming, a music workshop and so much more.

There was even a BRAW Factor talent show and a quiz to keep everyone entertained at night.

 

My BRAW 2019 highlights

Here’s a round of my highlights from the weekend and why I can’t wait to go again for BRAW 2020, in no particular order!

 

I met an Instagram friend in real life

I got to know Joe when we connected on Instagram after I sustained my brain injury post-concussion syndrome in March 2018.
 

 
He’s been a great source of positivity, support and encouragement from afar and it meant the world to finally be able to meet him and get to know him more in real life.

There were lots of hugs throughout the weekend!

 

I had a blast on an adaptive bike thanks to Beyond Boundaries East Lothian (BBEL)

I’m no stranger to spin bikes but they don’t go anywhere and I was apprehensive about how I’d manage on a bike that actually moves as I still have balance issues. I needn’t have worried because as soon as my friend Chris and I spotted the Draisin Twister side by side we both set our eyes on it for the Sunday morning.
 



 
Steven, Martin and Sean from Beyond Boundaries East Lothian brought along lots of adaptive bikes suitable for people with disabilities to try out.

Oh my days! It was the best fun I’ve had in ages and Chris agreed. We laughed and laughed and laughed so much. I think our laughter is probably still echoing around the grounds of Tulliallan now haha!

Watch this video of our wee adventures. Don’t worry, we didn’t hurt ourselves or flip the bike over haha!

Chances are you will laugh out loud with us, especially from 1min 31secs onwards!
 

 

 

I got to know my Headway group a lot better and made new friends too

One thing I love about going to my local Headway group, Dundee and Angus is being around people that have a good understanding of what I’m going through. Although we don’t all share exactly the same brain injury symptoms, there’s a lot of cross-over and similar life challenges in the group. And I think we as humans need to be heard and understood.

Our group meets every 2nd Wednesday afternoon but going away with some of the members was ace. We had most of our meals together, saw each other at various activities over the weekend and had a good chance to bond. I feel like I know them all more.
 

Thanks to Catherine Baillie for the photo.

It was also amazing getting to know new friends too. I remember sitting in the dining hall at one point and looking around and thinking that wow, the room was full of living miracles!

 

I truly appreciated the beautiful grounds of Tulliallan

As locations go, Tulliallan is pretty special. Tulliallan Castle is set within stunning gardens.

It was so nice to get the chance to chat to Headway Dundee and Angus Committee Chair Colin about our brain injury experiences.
 

Later over the weekend I went for a wee walk, sat on a bench for half an hour and just soaked up the views.
 





 

I went on a steam train trip on the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway

Stepping aboard the steam train felt like walking back in time.

It was a lovely way to spend Saturday afternoon.
 

 

Catherine Baillie came to my rescue

Of course I have to say a big thanks to sports massage therapist Cat Baillie for checking me over after I hurt my shoulder. No funny stories to share on that one (I was just getting dressed!) but I’m glad she was there with her expertise and to put on kinesiology tape.

And who doesn’t love tiger stripes?
 

 

Thanks to the BRAW 2019 Committee

I have to say a massive thanks to the BRAW 2019 Committee for making the event possible and for keeping us entertained, especially at BRAW Factor 😉 I know it took a lot of hard work to make it all happen.

All I can say is thanks so much and I’ll definitely be signing up for BRAW 2020.

 

Over to you!

Did you go to BRAW 2019 too?

Let me know what was your favourite activity in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

I know how incredibly scary life can be when you’re living with post-concussion syndrome but I don’t want you to feel alone. I’ve got your back and if you need to chat any time, please get in touch. You’ll also find me sharing my journey on Instagram so feel free to connect and say Hi!

And remember, you’re not broken, you’re finding your sparkle so do something every day that makes you happy!

Much love,

AJ x

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