Richard is one of our first customers. We wanted to share his story and help raise funds for the Renfrewshire Head Injury Service. Find our more about Richard and the RHIS below.
On July 9th, 2019, Richard fell six feet out his back door hitting his head on the concrete. He fell a further three times, leaving him with four fractures to his skull, which is termed a traumatic brain injury.
“A neighbour helped me in. He thought I was drunk so he put me on the couch. When I woke up the next day I couldn’t understand why I had black eyes. My family phoned an ambulance when they saw that I had blood leaking from my ear.”
Richard’s life had changed forever. He was admitted to hospital, he underwent brain surgery. He was diagnosed with epilepsy, which may have been the reason he fell, and then he was transferred to a specialist brain injury rehabilitation service where he received help with his rehabilitation.
It was when he returned home, back to a life with no income and not being able to drive, that he started to feel he was a burden to his family.
He was referred to Quarriers Renfrewshire Head Injury Service (RHIS) by his GP, and that was the first step to accepting his new way of life.
“If the team from RHIS hadn’t have come to my house, I would still be sitting there today. With a diagnosis of epilepsy, I panicked if I had to go out, so I didn’t.”
RHIS helped Richard maximise his income so that he could keep his home, they helped him with his rehabilitation and most importantly, they persuaded him to join The Sunshine Club. The club is run by people in Renfrewshire who live with a brain injury, they control what happens at the club while the staff at RHIS help facilitate.
“The Sunshine Club was my saviour. Everybody there is the same as me, we all know what each other have been through. We bounce off each other, we have group chats. It’s somewhere to go to laugh, make pals and to get out the house.
Being part of the Sunshine Club has helped Richard accept his injury, and to embrace his new way of life.
“I used to think I wanted to go back to being the old Richard, I wanted my old life back. Not now. Now I would rather be me. I’m more open, I will speak to anyone, and I try to tell as many people as possible about my head injury to raise awareness. Don’t stand next to me at a bus stop… I’ll tell you too.”
Richard now lives with epilepsy, as well as a deficit in his eyesight and he takes part in group support from RHIS. However, it has not broken his spirit and he is now taking steps to help other people who incur a brain injury.
Four years on Richard finds himself in a position to volunteer with the RHIS. He has the first hand, lived experience that is a vital addition to the team to help reassure the next person who is referred to the service that an independent life is within reach.
“When the ladies from RHIS came to my house, I remember thinking, what do they know? This hasn’t happened to them. But when someone new comes into the service, I can be there to show them that I’ve been exactly where they are, and we can help them get their life back on track with the right support network. And to show them that they are not alone.
“I can’t imagine my life now without The Sunshine Club. I’ve started taking pictures again and I’m really looking forward to volunteering with RHIS and showing everyone the great work that they do.”
We’re helping to raise funds on behalf of Richard and the Renfrewshire Head Injury Service by raffling a signed Scottish 6 Nations rugby shirt. To make a donation to enter the raffle, click the button below.