1 February, 2018
GRAB YOUR BOOTS AND SUPPORT “THE BARON”
Brain injured Andy Nicholson has thrown down a “global” challenge, urging people worldwide to get their boots on and walk a marathon for charity – at the same time as him!
And, within weeks of posting his innovative fundraising idea on Facebook and his website (www.braindamagedbaron.com), which the Lincoln man uses to reach out to other survivors, it’s clear that his innovative idea has “got legs.”
There are plenty of good reasons to support Andy’s effort. Lincolnshire alone has one of the highest number of brain injury survivors in the UK per head of population – but his money-spinning initiative has already fired the imagination of groups and organisations in at least six other countries. Now he is rallying more people to get on board.
“The early feedback has been astonishing. Small groups all over the place are springing up in support,” he said.
“The Brain Injury Association of America has offered to “partner up.” Headway UK, Epilepsy Action, Brain Injury Australia and others are interested. To me, sitting here on my sofa, that is amazing.
“My Facebook page - facebook.com/notesfromthebr...
has attracted followers in Australia, Ireland, Switzerland, New Zealand, Canada and Indonesia organising walks too.”
On July 1, Andy aims to hit the road with wife Sharon in a bid to raise at least £1,000 for Headway. He said the charity saved his life because a volunteer’s late brother had suffered brain injuries and so they understood his daily struggles.
Andy, who incurred his brain injuries 23 years ago when he fell 20 feet down a partially-built house stairwell on a German construction site, has dubbed his fundraiser “Walk with the Brain Damaged Baron” – (the Baron bit alludes to a hereditary title he won in a fun auction!).
His 26-mile walk to Leadenham and back, will start from sponsor The Plough pub, in Bracebridge, Lincoln, at 10am. Along the route there are shops, pubs, toilets and regular buses, which is good news for walkers who may need to take a break or finish early.
“I am so enthusiastic about my idea, I decided to “go global”, by encouraging people who are physically unable to join me in Lincolnshire, to be with me in spirit by walking for their chosen charity at the same time as me wherever they happen to be in the world,” said Andy.
“I want them to do their own “marathon.” Depending on their individual ability, that might be 26 miles or 26 metres. That doesn’t matter. Everyone’s effort will count and make a difference to the lives of others.”
It’s easy to think that Andy (48), with his ready smile, quirky jokes and positive outlook, is 100 per cent fit. But it is the “false assumptions” people unwittingly make when they cannot see someone’s hidden disabilities that constantly frustrates him and drives him on.
“People don’t see my chronic fatigue, short-term memory problems, lack of co-ordination, the fact that I am partially-sighted or suffer from epilepsy,” said Andy, who takes a daily cocktail of four different medications, uses inhalers and still regularly attends hospital.
“Raising money is vital, but I think it is even more important to increase people’s understanding of what life is like for someone with brain injuries. Raising awareness is now my mission in life.”
Andy has come a long way since that fateful day in 1994, when his life changed for ever. His fall left him in a coma and he came round in a hospital bed in Leipzig, Germany. His devastated family raced to his bedside, having learned he was not expected to survive.
Nine weeks later Andy was transferred to St George’s Hospital in Lincoln and, after a brief stay, was finally allowed to return home. Months of occupational therapy followed, but that was only the start of a challenging new journey into unchartered territory.
Today, laughter is the best medicine for the brain-injured veteran who shares his life with wife Sharon, her children Holly (12) and Joshua (16), and their faithful tabby cat, ‘Curfew’.
Sharon, who has been married to Andy for three years, is now his full-time carer. They got together five years ago after Sharon was about to axe her membership of an online dating site. It was only Andy’s cheeky post that stopped her from pressing the delete button – triggering a further life-changing future for both of them.
Headway Lincolnshire Information and Support Worker Ann-Marie Smith said Lincolnshire is a hot-spot for brain-injury survivors, a situation not helped by the numerous accidents on the county’s rural roads and the fact that many older people, who have suffered strokes and falls, now live at the county’s coast.
”We are delighted Andy is raising awareness about the devastating injuries caused by brain injuries by organising this global walk,” said Ann-Marie.
“Injuries of this nature challenge every aspect of a person’s life - walking, talking, thinking and feeling. Losses are severe and permanent. People lose the life they once lived and the person they once were. Many have to relearn how to walk and speak. We wish every Andy every success with this marathon effort.”
Anyone who wishes to support Andy can visit his Just Giving page at:
For further information, please call Andy Nicholson on (01522) 805578 or 07903 228248
Notes to Editors
Andy, who lives in the south of Lincoln, is encouraging anyone planning to take part in the marathon, or simply keen to throw their weight behind his effort, to grab one of his “Walk With the Brain Damaged Baron” T-shirts.
These are available now, priced at £13.85 and can be bought online by following the link below:
Further information about Headway UK can be found out: headway.org.uk