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Hayden, 9, makes ‘Headway’ for charity’s ‘brain injury awareness’ week

PUBLISHED: 14:51 09 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:51 09 May 2017

Hayden hanging around at Harbinger primary school. Picture: KIOS MIAH

Hayden hanging around at Harbinger primary school. Picture: KIOS MIAH

Kois Miah/LBTH

A nine-year-old boy with hyperactivity disorder causing behaviour problems is helping a London charity’s ‘Action for Brain Injury’ week to highlight the unseen effects.

Hayden Crossley, 9, and his dad Joe in the school playground. Picture: KIOS MIAH Hayden Crossley, 9, and his dad Joe in the school playground. Picture: KIOS MIAH

London has at least 100,000 people living with the long-term effects of a brain injury, the Headway East London charity points out.

They include Hayden Crossley from the Isle of Dogs who fell ill when he was six which doctors thought at first was an infection—it turned out to be encephalitis, inflammation of the brain.

He has a legion on the frontal lobe, which has left him with problems of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, causing behaviour symptoms such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

“We are lucky that he has recovered”, Hayden’s dad Joey said. “It’s often difficult to explain to people that he is not badly behaved, but is living with the effects of a brain injury.”

Jo Brand hosts Headway East London's 2010 fundraising dance marathon. Picture: HEADWAY Jo Brand hosts Headway East London's 2010 fundraising dance marathon. Picture: HEADWAY

Hayden, who goes to Millwall’s Harbinger primary school, was treated at the Royal London and Great Ormond Street hospitals.

The family is supporting Headway’s awareness week which runs until next Monday, supported by Tower Hamlets Council, to give a platform for people sharing experiences and challenging misconceptions.

The charity, which runs a recovery centre at Kingsland Road by the Regent’s Canal, helps 700 survivors every year with therapy, advocacy and family support services.

The campaign this year coincides with Hayden’s birthday. His dad is helping raise funds and public awareness, with head teacher Mandy Boutwood, staff and pupils at his school and the council.

Keith Emmanuel cooking up something in Headway's kitchen. Picture: HELENA SMITH Keith Emmanuel cooking up something in Headway's kitchen. Picture: HELENA SMITH

Families with children like Hayden get help from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services through the council.

Its community health director Denise Radley said: “The awareness week is a chance to talk about brain injury for survivors and those close to them. Our integrated approach with charities like Headway helps people live more independent lives.”

Celebrities such as TV comedienne Jo Brand are great supporters of the Headway’s annual fundraising dance marathon.

The charity also runs an annual national achievers awards naming survivors for their outstanding achievements in recovery.

Keith Emmanuel, 55, suffered a haemorrhage when he was 32 while driving, but miraculously was able to pull over onto a roundabout to avoid crashing.

“Everything after that is a blur,” Keith recalled in 2014 when he was nominated for an award. “I pulled over and next thing I knew a policeman was by my car window telling me I can’t park on a roundabout!”

Keith was rushed to the Royal London Hospital at Whitechapel, where he remained for nine months.

He had to give up his job as an engineer, but rekindled his passion for cooking during his recovery and joined Headway’s kitchen project that year and helped bring in £3,500.

Headway East London is running a pop up shop until Monday at 93 Kingsland Road, next to the canal bridge, with exhibitions and workshops on brain injury and showing the value of “the right help at the right time”.

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