Woman who suffered brain injury up for national prize

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A West Worthing woman who sustained a life-changing brain injury has been shortlisted for a national charity art competition.

Kerry Jeffs, 36, suffered a brain injury when a car crashed into her while she was cycling to work in 2012.

She turned to arts and crafts in the aftermath of her accident to improve her concentration, and is now one of 12 finalists chosen by a panel made up of brain injury professionals for a national art competition organised by Headway – the brain injury association.

Miss Jeffs said: “During recovery I started doing craft to improve my concentration and discovered I had a strong creative streak.”

“As time went on, I tackled bigger art projects and realised that it gave me a sense of purpose as well as improving my cognitive and communication difficulties.”

In the early stages of recovery, Miss Jeffs struggled to speak, walk and soon faced other long-term cognitive difficulties such as memory problems as a result of her brain injury. She had difficulty completing tasks she once took for granted which meant she was no longer able to do her job.

The competition, sponsored by Thompsons Solicitors, was launched by the charity to encourage brain injury survivors to get creative and produce a design for the charity’s 2016 festive card range.

Her entry, called ‘Under Construction’, depicts a deconstructed snowman to echo the process of putting yourself back together and rediscovering your sense of identity after a brain injury.

“My card design represents how head injury can throw your life into chaos but you just need to get out there and discover a new angle or perspective. I want to inspire and encourage other people with an acquired brain injury to never give up.”

“I am so pleased to hear my design has been shortlisted and feel excited to represent Headway following the incredible support they have given me,” said Kerry, who now runs craft workshops at Headway West Sussex and sister charity Headway Hurstwood Park.

Voting to select the winner will take place at Headway’s annual brain injury conference in Staffordshire where brain injury survivors will be able to choose their favourite design and the winner will be announced.

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