The year 2022 is a big year for Paul Spence, founder of the P.A.U.L For Brain Recovery charity.
April will be the anniversary of an event that should never have happened. Ten years ago, on Easter Sunday, 2012, Paul was punched in an unprovoked attack. This event left him with permanent damage to his brain — an acquired brain injury — that would change his life forever.
To mark this anniversary, on Easter Sunday, 2022, Paul will be running the Boston Marathon. And he’ll be running it alongside Neil Hudgell, the man behind Hudgell Solicitors.
A marathon of marathons: The Abbott World Majors.
The Boston Marathon is one of six marathons that form the Abbott World Majors. Completing all six: New York, Chicago, Boston, London, Berlin and Tokyo, is a significant achievement and an aspiration for many keen running enthusiasts around the world.
Boston will be Paul and Neil’s fifth Abbott World Major marathon, leaving only Tokyo on the list. But the story of how Paul and Neil became running partners is inspirational and one which, in the immediate aftermath of his injury, Paul never thought possible.
Support is vital during brain injury recovery.
In life, social links are very important. Family, friends, colleagues and even acquaintances can offer support in times of need and share your success after achievements. But these links become vital when your life is turned upside down by brain injury when you’re lost, confused, lonely and vulnerable. A reliable and loving support network becomes even more essential.
The first few years after the attack were the lowest, loneliest and darkest period of Paul’s life. But, over time, Paul discovered a new purpose: to help others like him — individuals who live with the life-long consequences of brain injury. But to do this, Paul needed to follow a healthy lifestyle and use coping strategies to manage the long-term difficulties as a result of his injury. He continues to follow this lifestyle and works at it daily to self-manage his chronic condition and be the best version of himself.
How Neil was fundamental to the development of P.A.U.L For Brain Recovery.
Despite Paul’s drive to help, beyond the lived experience of brain injury, he didn’t have the resources to support his ambition. Paul was fortunate enough to meet Neil, who took an interest and wanted to support Paul along with others in his local community.
Paul was proud to become an ambassador for Hudgell Solicitors in 2015, aiding clients affected by brain injury. But through Neil’s support, guidance and business connections, Paul had access to people and resources that enabled him to move forward with his plan. Doors opened; opportunities were made available. The result? The charity P.A.U.L For Brain Recovery was founded in 2016 and has been a huge source of help, information and support for thousands of people and families affected by brain injury.
Celebrating 10 years on.
Initially a business connection, Neil soon became Paul’s friend and running companion. Paul and Neil now train three times a week together. Neil has been integral to the formation of the charity, but also the self-development of Paul Spence. Neil continues to support the charity’s growth.
Throughout 2022, alongside the charity, Paul will celebrate how far he has come since his brain injury, giving thanks for the help and support of many people along the way. Taking on the Boston Marathon alongside Neil is one of the fantastic ways Paul plans to mark his 10 year anniversary whilst raising money for P.A.U.L For Brain Recovery.
Support Paul and Neil in raising funds for the P.A.U.L For Brain Recovery charity by sponsoring them here.
TOGETHER, we will make a DIFFERENCE and change the lives of those battling brain injury recovery.