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Brain Injury Awareness Week, 2- 9 July

28 June 2002


Focus On Little Understood Epidemic:
Brain Injury Awareness Week, 2- 9 July

Brain injury, New Zealand’s “least understood epidemic”, comes into public focus during Brain Injury Awareness Week, Tuesday 2 – Monday 8 July.

While 12,000 incidences of brain injury from accidents are reported in this country each year, the Brain Injury Association of New Zealand says many go unreported and the true number is probably around 30,000. Then there are others resulting from strokes, tumours and similar causes.

Because brain injury significantly affects not only the victims but also their families and friends, it could easily impact on the lives of more than 100,000 New Zealanders each year.

Harley Pope, Chief Executive Officer of the Brain Injury Association of New Zealand (Inc), says brain injuries, 75 per cent of which are caused by road accidents, can range from concussion to severe impairment.

“In almost all cases, improvement can be obtained, given the right support and often a great deal of time,” he says.

The Brain Injury Association of New Zealand (Inc) helps many hundreds of brain injured people throughout New Zealand, providing experienced Family Liaison Officers and in some areas, daily social rehabilitation programmes for people with moderate to severe brain injury - there are seven Stewart Centres around the country for this work.

To help prevent brain injury, especially among children, the Association is taking its “A light on every bike” campaign to households nationally. It has already achieved considerable success in those areas where it has been run.

“We need money to operate these services,” Harley Pope says. “While ACC and agencies provide some of what is needed, there is little for information, advocacy or support for families.”

Brain Injury Association branches throughout the country will be working hard throughout the week to increase awareness of the needs of the brain injured and to raise funds for the work.

In many areas there will be street appeals on Saturday 6 July – look for yellow-vested Brain Injury Association collectors. Postal donations may be made to the local Branch or to the BIANZ Head Office, PO Box 74-323 Market Rd, Auckland.

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