A Ballymena man who suffered major brain and body injuries in a motorcycle accident is using art skills to build a new career.
Paul Ewart was knocked off his motorcycle in 2009 - an event which completely changed his life.
Among the many symptoms he suffered were a loss of memory and confusion. As a result, Paul admits that he struggled to understand what was going on in his life but a major step on hisroad to recovery came when he first attended a meeting of the Cedar Foundation.
Paul has shared his experience of acquired brain injury to mark Action on Brain Injury (ABI) Week 2015.
He explains: “It wasn’t until I attended Cedar in 2013 that I understood what my brain injury was and how to deal with it in everyday situations. Cedar helped me understand my strengths and to build on my weaknesses.
“They also provided support to set realistic goals, look at re-training, identifying work tasters and placements, individual work, building on basic ICT and enabled me to become more involved in the community.
“Cedar supported me through helping me to learn new strategies to manage my fatigue and techniques to manage my memory.
“Meeting other people at Cedar helps me realise I’m not the only person with problems.
“It has been good to be able to share ideas, tips and strategies with others with a brain injury.
“I always had an interest in art and my grandmother always said that I should have done something with it.
“However I chose a different career path. After my brain injury I was no longer able to return to the career that I previously had. Cedar began supporting me to look at different career options.
“After a chance conversation about airbrushing, Cedar supported me to enrol on an airbrushing course with SM Designs.
“This re-sparked my interest in art and airbrushing and I have since attended 4 airbrushing courses with them. I now see myself as having a career in this area.
“My father has supported me to achieve my new goal and has converted my garage to an airbrushing workshop.
“I really feel that my life is moving forward and I have an achievable goal to strive for.
“My ultimate aim is to become self-employed as an Airbrush Artist and I believe this is achievable due to the help and support that I have received from my family and The Cedar Foundation.
“I am carrying out loads of work on personal practice pieces and I will be uploading these to my portfolio on my Facebook page Atomized Art NI.
“I want to give special thanks to all those who have helped me on my way”.
To find out more about The Cedar Foundation and the services they provide for those with Acquired Brain Injuries please visit www.cedar-foundation.org