Connecting minds

Carol Franklin is starting the North West support group for those with acquired brain injuries. (Joe Mastroianni). 290982_02

It was searing, intense pain which woke Carol Franklin up in the middle of the night nearly three years ago, taking her to hospital to have a tumor removed from her brain.

The tumor was a 4.2 centimeter Acoustic Neuroma, and though it was benign, the Sunbury resident has lost hearing in her left ear and is still adapting to her sudden acquired brain injury (ABI).

After getting involved with Brain Injury Matters, Ms Franklin saw that while there were ABI support groups in the city, there was “a gap” in outer Melbourne and regional areas – so she decided to start her own.

“Ideally, once a month, we get together, have a hot drink and just chat because it’s others that have gone through similar experiences who understand and can give you advice, or you can give advice, on the experiences that you yourself might be going through,” Ms Franklin said.

With funding help from the Victorian government’s Department of Family, Fairness and Housing, they had their first get together at the Gisborne Community Centre on Wednesday last week.

As a former vet nurse who could no longer practice due to her injury and the associated fatigue, she said it was the connections with other people who understood which made support groups important.

“Family and friends are absolutely lovely of course, extremely understanding and supportive, but there’s nothing quite like people that have also gone through, or similar, to what you have gone through. To have that connection, to know it’s not just you,” she said.

The North West ABI Support Group meetings will take place on the last Wednesday of each month at the Gisborne Community Centre.

If you need help with transport costs, contact

Elsie Lange