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Belinda’s on a mission

Friday, 4th August, 2017

Belinda Adams during her stopover in Broken Hill. She is touring the country in her big purple bus to raise awareness of brain injury. Belinda Adams during her stopover in Broken Hill. She is touring the country in her big purple bus to raise awareness of brain injury.

By Andrew Robertson

Wherever she goes in her purple bus, Belinda Adams attracts plenty of attention, and that’s exactly how she likes it. 

Broken Hill-born Ms Adams is on a mission to raise awareness about brain injury and her brightly coloured bus is not only getting her around but also helping her get the word out.

The single mother of three pulled into her hometown this week part-way through a five-week tour of Australia, and said the response so far to her road-trip-with-a-meaning had been “overwhelming”.

More than two million Australians have a brain injury, according to the World Health Organisation. Ms Adams’ own world was turned upside down when, in 2012, her son Dylan was involved in a major car accident and suffered critical injuries, including a severe head injury.

While he is now back working and living a full life, Ms Adams felt the need to do something to try and increase the level of support for people with an acquired brain injury and their families, and to promote the services that are available. 

She said the Brisbane hospital where Dylan was treated was fantastic but when it came time for him to go into rehab there were not enough beds available, and she found herself becoming therapist and carer.

“There’s definitely a need for more services or even the awareness of the services that are there because I don’t think a lot of people are aware of what’s around,” Ms Adams told the BDT.

“I really want to help people connect with services in their own community that they’re not aware of or just to say it’s okay to talk about this invisible disability because unless we ask for help when you need that help, you don’t get it.

“Most people just want to be heard, I think, and because it’s an invisible disability it’s quite often something people don’t understand unless you’ve been affected.”

The challenges faced by people with a brain injury don’t end when the rehabilitation is over either, according to Ms Adams, who said finding work was often difficult.

She would like to see more employers focus on what people with a brain injury can do, instead of what they can’t.

“People of all abilities and different abilities can work and be inclusive in society and the more people get back to that level of independence it’s less strain on the government’s resources down the track, as well and for carers.”

On Wednesday, Ms Adams mixed with locals at Bell’s Milk Bar, which donated $1 or $2 for every milkshake sold to the brain injury support service, Synapses, before hitting the road again yesterday.

She is heading for the Northern Territory and expects to be back home in Brisbane in a couple of weeks in time for Brain Injury Awareness Week.

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