Brain injury woman setting sights on new charity for Rumanian orphans
PUBLISHED: 12:00 02 July 2012
A woman who got through a massive brain trauma after her own self-diagnosis is now planning to set up a charity to help orphans abroad.
Rachael Webster, 40, thought she was about to die when she walked into the Crisis charity’s centre in Whitechapel in London’s East End to start a creative writing course.
She wanted to complete her life story with an autobiography to leave for her three children, the youngest aged 10.
But she survived and is now living in a small flat in Whitechapel while her children are being cared for by her sister.
“Many children in Rumania are abused and don’t have anything like the support youngsters have here,” Rachael explained. “My mother was an abused child and I promised her before she died I would do something to help children like that.
“I saw a documentary on Rumanian orphans and it set me thinking.”
Rachael would be following in her mother’s footsteps if her charity gets off the ground. Her mother Lyn Butchart founded the charity Open College of Sign Language in 1993, teaching people with normal hearing the skills of sign language to communicate with the deaf.
But Rachael had her own problems to get over first. She re-taught herself motor skills after her brain swelling injury that she believes was caused by the trauma of her mother’s death in 2010.
“Doctors put it down to nervous breakdown,” she recalls. “I had terrific pain which left me with speech impediment. At one stage I had tunnel vision and the world looked upside-down. I was staggering when I walked and had difficultly gauging the speed and distance of cars while crossing road.”
She found the symptoms on the internet and says that’s when she realised what was happening. Eventually, her brain swelling was diagnosed and treated, she adds.
Rachael also got support and advice from Headway East London’s treatment day-centre in Shoreditch.
Now she is determined to do something with her life—and plans a trip to Rumania “to make an inventory” of what orphanages need and wants to recruit doctors, dentists and other professions, even musicians.
She is setting up her voluntary group this week and hopes to raise £5,000 to launch her ‘Heart For Rumania’ charity.