David Rees calls for brain injury recovery to be prioritised in Wales

David Rees, AM for Aberavon, joined Emilia Clarke’s charity SameYou for their launch in Wales earlier this month, backing the call for neurorehabilitation support to be propelled to the forefront of the health agenda in Wales.

On Tuesday, 5th November at the Senedd, policy makers and practitioners learned of the alarming number of brain injuries endured by young people each year, as Clarke’s ground-breaking charity SameYou celebrated its launch in Wales.

Hosted by Eluned Morgan AM, the event showcased a variety of inspirational stories from survivors across Wales and outlined the charity’s ambition to “Revolutionise Recovery”.
‘SameYou’ is focused on recovery and increasing service provision for young adults surviving brain injury and stroke.

Speaking at the event, Eluned said,“ Not everyone is able to make a full recovery after brain injury or stroke, but everyone should have access to the best possible mental and physical rehabilitation to maximise their individual recovery potential. “

Her remarks were echoed by Dr Zoe Fisher (Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor), leader of community brain injury services at Swansea Bay Health Board. In her presentation she highlighted the importance of rehabilitation being centered around patient need.

Among the stories heard at the event was that of 38-year-old Dave Jones. The father-of-two suffered a stroke whilst at his desk in 2017, leaving him blind and with short term memory loss.
He, like all survivors at the event, sang the charity’s praises, branding their work ‘extremely important’.
“I found out who my true friends were after the stroke. Some just didn’t interact with me again, so meeting others like me and having the support of organisations like ‘SameYou’ has been so important.”

“It’s helped me learn that it’s not about getting back to how you were before the stroke, but about taking smaller steps to rebuild your life in a different way. ”
Health Minister, Vaughan Gething was also present to meet with the charity’s Welsh ambassadors, hearing first-hand how they believe the Welsh Government can build upon its existing support for brain injury.

Commenting on Wales launch, Emilia’s mother and Co-Founder, Jenny, said:“We see that there is a strong support from neuro rehabilitation professionals working in Wales to help Welsh brain injury population recover. The Welsh Assembly has shown their interest to prioritise brain injury recovery. With Emilia’s profile, together with the clinical excellence and commitment in Wales, we decided to launch #sameyouwales to raise awareness of the lived and felt experience of brain injury across Wales and improve neurorehabilitation provision.
We hope that we can bring a focus on young adults recovering from brain injury and highlight the massive gap between what’s available right now and what’s needed.
Rehabilitation care is hard to access because it is not high on the agenda of the public or policy makers. By launching SameYou in Wales at the Welsh Assembly, and with the support of David and others, SameYou hopes to act as a catalyst for radical change in service funding and delivery.”

David Rees AM added: “Each year in Wales, thousands of people sustain a brain injury and currently there is not adequate care and provision in place to help people. Many people from my constituency are living with the consequences. From listening to the brave stories from brain injury survivors today, it is clear that we need a major change. That’s why I’m encouraging my constituents support SameYou’s call for action to help increase the availability of therapies and push for innovations in the pathway of care.”


Notes to Editors:
Emilia Clarke is an English actress who rose to international prominence for her breakthrough role as Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO fantasy television series Game of Thrones (2011–2019). The role has garnered her critical acclaim and several accolades, including three nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
She experienced two brain haemorrhages in 2011 and 2013. She spoke about these life threatening events for the first time in public in March 21st 2019 in The New Yorker (https://www.sameyou.org/emilias-story), as she launched her charity SameYou. Emilia is using her public profile to show the urgent need for increased rehabilitation and recover services for young people after they survive a brain injury or stroke.
SameYou works to increase the provision of immediate rehabilitation for young adults after leaving hospital and to facilitate innovations in specialist nurse training, fund clinical research and develop evidence for policy change.
To learn more about SameYou and their work, visit sameyou.org or follow on Twitter or on Facebook (@sameyouorg).