Anniversaries are a time to celebrate, and for Paul Spence, the tenth anniversary of his brain injury is no different. Recovery hasn’t been easy; it’s been a rocky road filled with setbacks and obstacles. But despite the challenges, Paul has become an individual of extraordinary capacity, a role model for other brain injury survivors, and a man who leaves inspiration in his wake. Here we cover his journey over the last ten years.
How Paul acquired a brain injury.
Easter weekend in 2012, Paul was the victim of an unprovoked attack in a bar. Falling backwards, he hit his head and blacked out. The impact of the fall left Paul with devastating damage to his frontal lobe – the part of the brain responsible for everything from personality and concentration to emotions and cognitive reasoning.
In the hospital, Paul lay unconscious for nearly a week. After several life-threatening seizures, he woke up a very different man. Following eight weeks in Hull Royal Infirmary, including time in Intensive Care, Paul came out of the hospital into a whole new world.
Recovery was tough. Paul wasn’t the same individual. He couldn’t work to his previous capacity, his driving licence was revoked, and due to Paul’s difficulties, family life presented massive obstacles. Although many people who knew Paul tried their best to understand what was happening, life was different for all involved.
Despite his struggles and limited awareness, Paul had an innate desire to take action to make the best possible recovery. He wanted to be his best self for himself and for his family and children.
Exercise and healthy lifestyle choices gave Paul a boost right from the start of his journey, and combined with a growth mindset, these were his biggest sources of hope and progress. Realising physical activity would help his long-term recovery, Paul set himself a target: a half-marathon.
Completing the half-marathon was a turning point. Not only did Paul smash his goal alongside 70 members of his family and friends, but in the process raised £17,000 for the fantastic Neurosurgical ward at Hull Royal Infirmary. This donation was a mark of gratitude and support for all the care he received on the ward that saved his life.
Despite this progress and desire to give back, Paul was still struggling at home. After receiving test results, he was advised not to work as an Electrical Foreman, the job he had enjoyed since being an apprentice. Paul’s relationship with his long-term partner had broken down. He struggled with his identity and had difficulty accepting his new reality. And he had nowhere to go for help. Despite this adversity, Paul knew that regular exercise, positive mind management and eating for optimal body and brain health were crucial to moving forward.
One thing that Paul realised was that although he was struggling, he was lucky in the support he received from family and friends, and he soon understood that not everyone had such a good support network around them. He feared for those less fortunate than himself. This realisation sparked a passion in Paul; he wanted to help and support others in the community who found themselves struggling to cope during brain injury recovery.
A passion for life.
This desire to help was the catalyst to the formation of P.A.U.L For Brain Recovery, a charity dedicated to guiding people through the challenges of Acquired Brain Injury. What started as a social media page to help others is now a respected UK registered charity and a beacon of hope that has helped thousands of people.
Paul’s recovery and subsequent success haven’t happened overnight. Only through starting small, taking action and maintaining constant commitment has he reached where he is today.
Even now, being his best possible self is only feasible through self-awareness, embracing a growth mindset, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. These practices have helped him complete multiple fundraising challenges over the years and are still part of his routine ten years on.
A charity that changes lives.
Central to Paul’s recovery and the formation of P.A.U.L For Brain Recovery are dedicated family, friends, and a local community who have shown tremendous generosity in donating their energy, resources, time and money. Paul wants to recognise and thank everyone involved; their contribution has been monumental to the growth and impact of the charity.
P.A.U.L For Brain Recovery takes a person-centred and holistic approach, providing sessions and activities that aim to optimise brain injury recovery and minimise the long-term effects.
The charity also raises awareness of ABI by offering CDP-certified ABI training. In addition, Paul delivers talks that aim to educate, inspire and motivate health professionals, universities, schools and prisons, raising awareness of brain injury and recovery. He hopes that his personal story will inspire others.
Over the coming weeks and months, P.A.U.L For Brain Recovery will continue to celebrate Paul’s 10-year milestone by raising awareness of ABI and Paul’s inspiring journey. To learn more about P.A.U.L For Brain Recovery and our impact, visit .