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Grace Vobe

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Grace Vobe

Grace Vobe

Volunteering made me feel whole again

When she was in her twenties Grace Vobe left her hometown of Ceredigion in Wales to start a highflying career in London.

But when she sustained a traumatic brain injury in an assault, the career woman's world fell apart.

The 46-year-old told us that it wasn't until she started volunteering at Headway Ceredigion that she began to 'feel whole again.'

On 20th August 2009, Grace was walking down the street when she was struck by a passing cyclist. The moment of violence changed Grace's life forever.

"It ended my career right there and then," she said. "Everything I had worked for disappeared overnight."

But despite having sustained a serious brain injury, Grace discharged herself from hospital almost immediately.

"Just two months before my brain injury, my dad had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and given six months to live," she said.

"My mum had said 'please look after yourself because if something happens to you, I can't help because your dad really needs me.'"

I couldn't have my mum receive the call that I was in hospital, it would have been too much for her.

Because Grace discharged herself and moved back to Ceredigion, she didn't receive any help or support and was left struggling to cope with the devastating effects of her traumatic brain injury.

"Sometimes I would be walking down the street and suddenly have no idea where I was, how I'd got there or where I was going," she said. "It's so scary to have no idea what's going on."

Eventually, Grace received an official brain injury diagnosis in Ceredigion and started to receive support.

She first heard about Headway Ceredigion when she met committee member Lynda Allison at an information stall in her local Sainsbury's.

"It took me a while to build up the courage to come to Headway's drop in session," said Grace. "But once I started talking to other members who knew what I was going through, I felt normal.

Talking to someone who understood was a huge help.

Grace is now a committee member at Headway Ceredigion, and has found her life's purpose through supporting other survivors.

"When I went to my first committee meeting I was making notes and I became quite emotional because I felt like I was back at my old board meetings," she said. "It made me feel like I was someone again.

After my brain injury I couldn't work and I felt like I was nobody. But since I started volunteering I have found my purpose in life, to help other people

"I just want to be here for the people who come in. I benefit from giving my time to help others because it gives me a good feeling."

If you have been inspired by Nicola's story, click here to find out more about volunteering with Headway.


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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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