A teenage brain injury survivor will take part in Headway Suffolk’s Cycle Ride and Walk in Ipswich on Saturday 27 April using his specially-adapted wheelchair bike.
Eighteen-year-old Mark Baines suffered a brain haemorrhage as a young child after being born eight weeks premature, which has left him severely sight impaired, profoundly deaf and needing the use of a wheelchair.
But that won’t stop Mark, who lives in Ipswich, taking part in the charity’s flagship fundraiser. He will be assisted by his parents Tony and Leanne, as well as Headway support workers James and Lydia, who will take it in turns to cycle Mark the course through Ipswich and surrounding areas.
Helen Fairweather, Headway Suffolk’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted that Mark is taking part and showing that, with the right support in place, having a brain injury or a neurological condition isn’t a barrier to achieving your aspirations.
“Mark and his family have found the support of Headway Suffolk invaluable with his rehabilitation and keeping his mind and body active. He really enjoys arts and crafts at our Ipswich hub and going swimming with our community team.
“We hope his courage inspires others to take part in our Cycle Ride and Walk, which is our main fundraising event of the year. It’s a perfect way for individuals and companies to get active, have fun and join in the camaraderie of raising money for a local charity that supports local people.”
The event, which has raised £50,000 for the charity in the last ten years, starts (and finishes) at 9am at its premises at Epsilon House in West Road on the Ransomes Europark in Ipswich.
Leanne Baines, Mark’s mother, said: “We are really pleased that Headway’s young support workers have come forward so enthusiastically as a group to help Mark take part. As a parent, the whole attitude of ‘how can we get Mark involved and make this happen?’ instead of saying it’s too hard, is fantastic.
“It’s been incredible support from Headway with nothing too much bother and offering things such as a back-up van.
“Headway is a relatively new place for Mark and everything he is getting in support is everything we could hope for.
“Mark has a packed and varied week of stimulating activities, such as trampolining, going to the theatre, cycling, going to Alton Water and taking part in music sessions. The staff also find places outside where they can walk with Mark safely.”
Headway Suffolk helps users rebuild lost skills, improve confidence and increase social integration through rehabilitation, therapy and support services. It has recently submitted planning permission to build the Professor Stephen Hawking Neuro Centre, a new rehabilitation hub and housing centre in Ipswich.
Supporters can get involved in helping the exciting new build by taking part in the Cycle Ride and Walk, which comprises 30, 40 and 50-mile cycle routes through Ipswich, Felixstowe and Martlesham, with a new and improved 10-mile route for walkers.
It’s just £10 to participate unless you have sponsorship. It is open to everyone and is an ideal team-building exercise for companies to compete to win the Headway Shield by raising the most sponsorship.