Two young brain injury rehabilitation assistants from Headway Suffolk will pair up and ride a tandem in the charity’s Cycle Ride and Walk in Ipswich on Saturday (27 April).
Ellen Burman and Alicia Ray will cycle the 30-mile route from Headway’s base at Epsilon House on the Ransomes Europark in West Road, Ipswich, through Nacton, Levington, Trimley, Felixstowe, Newbourne and Bucklesham, and finishing back at Headway.
Ellen, 22, from Woodbridge, joined Headway Suffolk in September last year and provides support to clients in the Ipswich hub and in the community, including 18-year-old Mark Baines, who suffered a brain haemorrhage as a young child that has left him blind and deaf.
Mark will also be taking part in the event in his specially-adapted wheelchair bike that is attached to other bikes and will be propelled in turn by his parents and two support workers.
“I’m very excited to be doing the Cycle Ride,” said Ellen. “Helen (Fairweather) asked if I wanted to do it and I said I would if it was on a tandem and the next thing I know she’s got one!
“It’s going to be great fun and team building and I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone. I’ll be at the front to start with but then Alicia and I will probably rotate. We’ve been practising most mornings.
“In my job I enjoy helping clients progress and getting out and about doing activities and being productive. It helps to boost their confidence so they are not afraid to go out.
“I’d like to continue progressing with Headway and specialise in a certain area.”
Alicia, 19, from Ipswich has been with Headway Suffolk since the end of August last year and, alongside working for the charity, is halfway through studying to be a paramedic at the University of Suffolk.
“It’s going to be really good and fun but also challenging!” she said. “It was difficult at first learning to cycle a tandem but with the practising we’ve been doing we’ve got used it.
“Everyone was talking about the Cycle Ride and we joked at first about doing the tandem but then thought ‘why not?’
“I’m really enjoying working at Headway in the hub and meeting new clients and doing one-to-one work on projects and other activities, such as cognitive games and exercises, in a group.”
Helen Fairweather, Headway Suffolk’s chief executive, said: “It’s great to see two young people want to take part and have fun and raise money for the charity. It shows real enthusiasm and dedication and it’s an excellent team building opportunity.”
The event, which has raised £50,000 for the charity in the last ten years, starts at 9am and there are 30, 40 and 50-mile cycling routes, along with a 10-mile walk.
It’s just £10 to participate unless you have sponsorship. There are spaces for participants to take part at late notice by phoning 01473 712225 by Friday lunchtime.
Headway Suffolk helps users rebuild lost skills, improve confidence and increase social integration through its rehabilitation, therapy and support services. It is fundraising to build the Professor Stephen Hawking Neuro Centre, a new rehabilitation hub and housing centre in Ipswich.
For further information about Headway Suffolk’s events, visit www.headwaysuffolk.org.uk/events.