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Elizabeth Charleston, former international model and founder of THINK, The Head Injury Network for Kiwis, has thrown herself behind a campaign to raise awareness of head injuries in New Zealand. Part of this educational drive has involved appearing on TV One’s ‘Attitude’ show on Sunday, 5th September, to discuss the impact her own head injury has had on her life and to increase understanding of the condition among New Zealanders.
Elizabeth is thrilled with the amount of positive feedback she has received since the show aired, believing it will go a long way towards demystifying an illness that many sufferers are embarrassed to talk about.
‘I am humbled by the number of messages people have sent me since the screening of the Attitude TV show that focused on my head injury,’ says Elizabeth. ‘People have been in touch to thank me for speaking up about the 'Invisible Injury' that so many New Zealanders are living with. Many have shared their own stories on trying to live with a head injury or support a family member or friend with one. It’s almost an epidemic in this country and sadly there is still very little that can be done about the condition.’
Elizabeth intends to continue campaigning for head injury awareness and hopes her efforts will help people realise the serious impact a head injury can have on a person’s life.
‘The majority of people with head injuries are not able to work fulltime again as they suffer from short term memory, fatigue and problems with their balance,’ Elizabeth explains. ‘It can be incredibly frustrating as they simply can’t do the things that they used to do.’
‘People also need to understand that it can happen to anybody,’ she adds. ‘This year, we are focusing heavily on individuals playing sport as that is where a huge chunk of head injuries are sustained. Horse riders and cyclists must wear a helmet to protect their heads. Those involved in sports such as soccer and rugby are also susceptible. The key message is to always be careful and never become complacent.’
As well as heading up THINK! and campaigning through various media, Elizabeth was also involved in Head Injury Awareness and Appeal Week in June.
Saddlery stores, Stirrups Equestrian and Saddlery Warehouse offered their support throughout the week and offered significant discounts on new riding helmets to encourage horse riders to wear protection when participating in their sport.
The thirty minute ‘Attitude’ piece can be viewed at http://tvnz.co.nz/attitude/s2010-e26-video-3759382
For more information on the Head Injury Society of New Zealand, visit www.head-injury.org.nz or visit the THINK! Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/THINK-The-Head-Injury-Network-for-Kiwis/378242020990?ref=ts