“I could feel sorry for myself or I could start again”

by Padraig Conlon

Clondalkin man Derek Cummins never worried too much about things.

Like most people he got up every day and tried to do his best for his family.

But in June 2013 his whole world shattered and he “fell into a million little pieces”.
At the relatively young age of 42 Derek had suffered a stroke.

He says: “My stroke hit me hard, my place in the world was gone.

“I had lost the power of communication, I have Aphasia which is an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write.”

Five-and-a-half years on from the day his life changed, Derek wants people to know there is life beyond a brain injury.

“My choices were I could feel sorry for myself or I could start again and rebuild” he says.

“I decided to rebuild, I was lucky to go to the NRH in Oct. 2013 and then to a place in Headway Ireland, an organisation which provides services and support for those affected by Aquired Brain Injury.”

Derek says Headway has transformed his life.

“I am now doing things that I have never realised.
“I am a survivor, a poet, I got involved with a charity, involved with a choir, I do have a voice, Headway is making a difference.”

Wanting to give something back to the organisation, Derek and two friends came up with an idea to organise a fundraiser.

“We decided to organise a table quiz to raise funds for people who have brain injuries.

“We started working on it back in April and I’m delighted to say he will be hosting our event this Friday, October 19 in Waterside Clondalkin at 8.30pm.

“It promises to be a great night with a quiz, DJ, raffles,craic and music.

“Organising this quiz has given me back my confidence as it shows I can make a difference, that I am not finished!

“But it is up to me to decide what I want to do in my life.

“There is life beyond a brain injury.

“There’s so much support and help but it’s up to you to push yourself, please don’t hide in a corner, open the next door and you will be amazed to realise that there is always hope.”

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