Brain injury support group stems from teen's miracle recovery

After Jan Rock's son, Callum, was left with a brain injury from falling from a 60ft cliff, she was inspired to set up a support group for parents.
 

Callum in hospital
When Callum was 16-years-old he suffered serious head and multiple trauma injuries after falling more than 60ft from a cliff in Guisborough Woods. Despite being given virtually no chance of survival, he has gone on to make a remarkable recovery thanks to the specialist trauma care he received in James Cook University Hospital and intensive help and support provided by his family. Six years on, Callum is entering his second semester at York St John University studying physiotherapy. Now a charity set up by mum, Jan, is starting a free support group for parents of young people who have survived a brain injury. She said: “Historically, children and young people with brain injuries did not survive but because of medical advances and the creation of specialist paediatric intensive care units, today more children are surviving. “However the community support they need afterwards to help them to recover has not evolved, making life extremely difficult for parents and children. “Bringing a brain injured child home from hospital is extremely stressful for parents. Over the last six years, we know that at least 60 families across Teesside have been affected by childhood brain injury. “From experience, we know they need help and support with the daily challenges they are facing. We are reaching out to those families.”
  Callum and his mum
Surgeons battled for 12 hours to save Callum, following the August 2010 accident. And having survived, he faced a gruelling road to recovery, having been unable to see, hear or move when he first opened his eyes after surgery. Yet incredibly, he has not only gone on to walk again, he completed the Hartlepool Marina 5 Mile Road Race in 2014 for the Great North Air Ambulance.
Jan said: ““As a parent, I know how little community support there is for brain injured children and their families once they are discharged from hospital. We are starting this group to try to reverse this trend. “Parents will receive information about brain injury, peer support and learn techniques to help reduce some of the family pressures they experience.” BIG (Brain Injury Group) for Parents is being run by the Matrix Neurological Charity, with funding from Comic Relief and the Tees Valley Community Foundation. And Jan hopes it will give the advice and support needed to families affected by childhood brain injury. The first meeting of BIG for Parents is in the Acklam Green Centre on Wednesday, January 27 from 6pm to 8pm. The charity is also looking for more volunteers to help it deliver its aims. For more information visit www.matrixneurological.org.uk .  
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