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Brain injury is often known as the ‘silent epidemic’ because many of its effects may be totally invisible to observers. Headway Limerick client, Liam Cooke, knows this only too well. After a car accident in 2007, he drove home with no visible injuries but what he didn’t know was that he had a brain haemorrhage. The injury wasn’t diagnosed for three weeks and after emergency brain surgery, he had a stroke. He spent three years in rehabilitation hospitals and units.

Liam said: “I was left with hemiplegia [paralysis on one side of the body] and visual impairment. I can see a person in front of me but I can’t read. One thing that was affected by my brain injury was my behaviour, things like my temper. I lost cognitive skills.” Liam now does brain-injury specific training, part-time in Headway learning how to deal with the consequences of his injury and gain new skills. “Everything is a lot better since I started here. I’m enjoying it. I’ve made great friends in the staff and the clients,” he said. Denise Cooke, Liam’s mother, added: “Headway has done Trojan work with Liam. He’s done a lot of hard work himself too. You know the days he’s been there because he’s in great form. He loves it. He’s kept busy and getting some responsibility.” Although Liam’s life has changed dramatically, Headway aims to make a positive change to his future.

You can support this vital work with those affected by acquired brain injury by attending, or making a donation to, the Headway Limerick Annual Ball on October 7. It will take place in the Dunraven Arms Hotel, Adare. More information and tickets are available on 061-469305.

Liam Cooke's life has changed dramatically for the better thanks to Headway. Photo by Rachael Finucane

Liam Cooke’s life has changed dramatically for the better thanks to Headway. Photo by Rachael Finucane.

To see photos from Headway Ball Limerick 2011 go HERE.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.