“Chances are you or someone you love has been touched by a brain disorder, disease or injury such as dementia, migraine, tumour, stroke, Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease, concussion…and the list goes on…” These words are spoken often by Mr Trevor Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of Brain Foundation.
Brain Foundation is the largest non-government funder of neurological and neuroscientific research in Australia. Since it was established 50 years ago, the Foundation has funded research amounting to many millions of dollars into brain disorders, diseases and injuries. The Foundation’s ultimate goal is to advance diagnoses, treatments, cures and patient outcomes.
You can point to anybody
To demonstrate that virtually everyone benefits from the work of the Brain Foundation, Mr Thompson says he can confidently point to anybody in a room and say; “Chances are you or someone you love has been touched by a brain disorder, disease or injury.”
It’s truly humbling and gratifying to know the work of the Foundation touches so many, yet most people have never heard of the Brain Foundation or its division Migraine & Headache Australia.
“We’ve done a wonderful job over the past half a century of funding research and advancing diagnoses, treatments, cures and patient outcomes. However, we’ve done a dreadful job of promoting ourselves and the good work we do,” says Mr Thompson.
“We are addressing this problem by spreading the word to the general public and large corporations via the media and in publications such as Reader’ Digest. If somebody doesn’t know about us, how are they going to support us? We receive absolutely no government funding so we rely entirely on the generosity of individuals, corporate sponsors and bequests.” concludes Mr Thompson.
Supporting early career researchers
In the past six months alone the Brain Foundation has funded research in excess of $600,000 for a broad range of research projects by neurologists, neuroscientists, neurosurgeons and other medical professionals across the country. Many of those who apply for funding through the Brain Foundation are early career researchers who are the next generation of trailblazers pushing the boundaries of research and new thinking.
Sadly however, no matter how much money the Brain Foundation raises each year it’s never enough to fund all of the worthy and dedicated researchers who apply for its grants. Put simply; there can be no cure without research and there can be no research without the generosity of individuals, corporate sponsors and bequests.
The very young and the very old are touched
Brain disorders, diseases and injuries touch so many regardless of their age. Consider someone older who has been diagnosed with a tumour, dementia or Parkinson’s. It’s devastating for them and their entire family. Children, teenagers and young adults too are touched in the prime of their lives with migraine, sports injuries such as concussion or countless other disorders, diseases or injuries.
Migraine is more than just a headache
Migraine for example affects almost 5-million Australians. Over 70% of sufferers are women and 86% are of working age. The cost to the economy is almost $36 billion. However, it’s impossible to put a price on the cost to the individual sufferer. It affects every aspect of their lives including their families, social life, work and opportunities for career advancement.
The cost for business too is enormous due to lost productivity with sufferers turning up for work in fear of losing their jobs if they don’t turn up, but then working at only a fraction of their normal output whilst having to put on a brave face in front of their boss as if everything is normal.
Migraine is the 6th most disabling illness in the world. Migraine often goes undiagnosed because migraine affects different sufferers in different ways. Even the triggers that activate a migraine differ between sufferers.
Some people are triggered by lack of sleep, whilst others are triggered by food, bright lights, perfume / aftershave or even the washing powder they use to wash their clothes. Some sufferers can even have a migraine without experiencing head pain.
The ‘Brain Foundation’ and ‘Migraine & Headache Australia’ are not only funding research into migraine but also actively lobbying the Federal Government for more support to better educate GPs about migraine as well as major employers about the impact of migraine on their organisation.
Help Brain Foundation and Migraine & Headache Australia
Chances are you, or someone you love, will be touched by a brain disorder, disease or injury. The good news is the Brain Foundation’s family of supporters and research professionals are working together to find better treatments, cures and patient outcomes.
You’re invited to become part of the family by making a donation or talk to the Brain Foundation about leaving a gift in your Will. For more information visit their website www.brainfoundation.org.au or phone 1300 886 660.