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Zac's story

Zac decided to get involved with the Brain & Spine Foundation after his mother was hospitalised with a subarachnoid haemorrhage

I came across the Brain & Spine Foundation website in the course of doing my own research and it helped me to understand what was happening and to know that others were going through similar circumstances.

When and where did you first hear about the Brain & Spine Foundation?

In 2014, whilst my mum was in hospital after suffering a subarachnoid haemorrhage.  She was at my sister’s house when it happened.  Fortunately my sister, despite being deaf, was able to make herself understood to the emergency services and an ambulance arrived very quickly.  My mum had a long stay in hospital but, with some excellent care from the NHS staff that looked after her, she was able to return home to continue her recovery.

What prompted you to support the charity?

Zac with his sister and mum

It was an extremely difficult time for my mum and our family.  It’s surprisingly hard to find reliable, well presented information on this condition, especially when you want to know as much as possible about what’s happening to someone you love, and what their chances are of living or dying.  Doctors and nurses do an amazing job, but they have so much to do to just keep patients like my mum alive. It’s very difficult for them to have the time to sit and explain in any detail the condition, the risks and the potential consequences on their quality of life, if they do manage to survive.  I came across the Brain & Spine Foundation website in the course of doing my own research and it helped me to understand what was happening and to know that others were going through similar circumstances.  I wanted to raise money for a charity which is not quite as prominent, and therefore not as well supported, as the big charities you always hear about, so that my fundraising would be more likely to make a difference and there would be a closer link between myself and the charity.

How did you choose what activity to do as your fundraising challenge?

I had taken up running for fitness reasons due to my largely sedentary job and because I enjoy challenging myself. I find that having an official organised event on the horizon gives me a focus to work towards a goal.  I have also been using my training to encourage other people in my family, including my mum, to get their trainers on and walk and then run to improve their quality of life.  My brother-in-law has completed the Great North Run several times now and he encouraged me to take up the challenge of a pretty hilly half marathon, but also one which is extremely well organised and has great public support.  I’m hoping this will be particularly beneficial when I am running on fumes in the last couple of miles.

How are you finding training and fundraising?

I have devised a training plan and have been mixing up strength work in the gym with 7 aside football, speed work and longer distances every so often.  With having a busy, and often stressful job, I have to be organised and plan out when I can make time to train.  The difficulty with fundraising is there seem to be a lot more people in the last few years fundraising by doing active events rather than the traditional “sit in a bath of beans”, but the increased physical activity by the public generally is a good thing!

What is your general feeling about the Brain & Spine Foundation?

I think it’s a very valuable resource for people in some of their darkest moments.  I think visibility of the charity and ease of access to information and support are extremely important, and I hope that the charity can continue to make more people aware of what they can offer, so that Brain & Spine Foundation can progress their ability to help people.

Could you support us too?