Tyrone mum praises brain injury charity

(From left to right) Olivia Boyd with mum Jill Boyd, dad Alan Boyd, sisters Emily Boyd and Sarah-Jane Boyd
(From left to right) Olivia Boyd with mum Jill Boyd, dad Alan Boyd, sisters Emily Boyd and Sarah-Jane Boyd

A Tyrone mother, whose daughter had a non-malignant brain tumour aged just three, has praised the work of ‘Brain Injury Matters’.

Jill Boyd also commended the charity’s dedicated rehabilitation programmes which helped her to deal with issues that have affected her life and the lives of her family since her daughter Olivia’s brain tumour.

She was speaking out as Brain Injury Matters, a brain injury rehabilitation charity in Northern Ireland, successfully secured two papers to be presented at the International Conference on Paediatric Acquired Brain Injury at Queen’s University Belfast at the end of September.

Jill said: “The impact of an acquired brain injury, especially when it is your child, is life changing for the entire family circle. Olivia was only three-years-old when a brain tumour was discovered following a routine eye test.

“Olivia is now five and struggles with issues such as social anxiety, variable mood and behavioural changes and difficulty with balance and co-ordination. We connected with Brain Injury Matters and became involved in Family First, one of their dedicated rehabilitation programmes, following Olivia’s surgery. Through the rehabilitation programme, Olivia has received one to one support in our home, as well as continuous contact with practitioners. This has helped us as a family to implement strategies to process and cope with anxiety, as well as visual strategies to help us and Olivia with various self-care tasks. The Family First service has been so helpful to us, especially living in such a rural area we find accessing support so difficult but Family First have come out to us in our home which is so amazing.”

Family First practitoners work alongside the family to provide the appropriate support to their child with an acquired brain injury. They work in partnership with parents, children and siblings.

Bridget Smyth, Children’s Service Manager at Brain Injury Matters said: “Olivia is a great example of the positive impact that such programmes can have when they are rolled out. Her real-life example emphasises the importance of having dedicated rehabilitation programmes in place for people of all ages. Acquired brain injuries can happen to anyone at any time and it is essential that they have access to services which help them and their families live their lives to the full, and Olivia’s case is testament to this.”