Lights, camera, action for brain injury recovery


It’s ‘Lights, Camera Action’ for brain injury awareness at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival! We got in touch with one of Emilia’s Game Changers, Hannah O’Dowd, the brains behind Unknown, to find out more about why she was fundraising for SameYou, and the true story behind one woman’s recovery journey after traumatic brain injury.

Hannah was only 21 years old when she was involved in a plane accident which left her with a severe brain injury, three bleeds on her brain and a stroke, among other injuries. Her early experiences with neurorehabilitation, as well as the challenges she and her family and friends faced, inspired her to write a play in the hopes of raising awareness of the trauma involved and the importance of a strong support network. The play, following on from its success at her University’s Drama festival, proved a key ingredient for rediscovering the person within:

“I have struggled hugely with a lost sense of identity and confidence, so creating this theatre production has been therapeutic for me, being able to tell my story through a medium which is extremely important to me has been so powerful. I began a degree in English and Drama before my accident, so being able to rediscover a way to access things which were integral to my life before my accident has been incredibly empowering.”

Hannah’s positive experience of neurorehabilitation in Australia, where the accident occurred, has allowed her to reflect on what she’d like to see change in the accessibility of rehabilitation services in the UK. “I was receiving two – three physio and speech therapy sessions a day as well as occupational therapy and neuropsychology sessions. I would ideally like for this level of intensive rehabilitation to be available to all brain injury survivors in the UK”.

Alongside increased access to services, she hopes to see an increase in the number of neuro-specialist nurses, doctors and therapists to work alongside patients, as well as more public awareness of the difficulties faced in overcoming brain injury. “Having been treated in several different hospitals, I am aware that brain injury can look very different from person to person. I was by far the youngest being treated in all my neurorehabilitation wards. My brain injury means that I look like almost the exact same person as before my accident, but this is both a blessing and a curse.”

Hannah’s experiences resonate deeply with the thousands of people who have shared their stories with SameYou, and our goal as an organisation is to bring those stories to life to act as a catalyst for meaningful change in neurorehabilitation for young people.

Unknown’, is part of this year’s line-up at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 2 – 14 August 2019.


100% of the ticket sales will be donated to SameYou and other brain injury charities.