My name is Patrick Walsh and my goal is to raise funds to help Barwon Health’s McKellar Centre build a new unit dedicated to the care of children with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).
This a subject very close to my heart as I sustained a life-changing brain injury when I was involved in a serious road accident 11 years ago.
Sadly, my story is very common.
In 2006, I was a typical 23 year old. I had a good job and a great social life. But the accident changed everything.
Although I have no memory of the accident or the months that followed I now know I am very lucky to be alive. During the accident my left leg and arm were shattered. Some of the bones in my face were crushed and I sustained a serious head injury which resulted in a brain injury.
After the accident I spent two weeks in a coma at the Alfred Hospital. I was later transferred to the Epworth Hospital. I had 15 operations and so many stitches that I looked like a patchwork quilt. Over four months the hospital staff put me back together and I had to learn to talk, walk and do the everyday things we all take for granted.
When I eventually came home I became a patient at the McKellar Centre and began the long process of rehabilitation. The staff were and are amazing people.
Two things have made all the difference for me. The first is the support and help of my family, friends and the medical staff who have been with me every step of the way. The second is that during my regular stints in the gym I became involved in health and fitness. I have met some amazing people and they have motivated me to try and be the best version of myself that I can be.
I have learned that a person like me with a brain injury does not need to be defined by their disability but that we all have the opportunity to improve our lives and the lives of others. That’s why I want to help the McKellar Centre raise money so that they can give children with ABI the best possible chance to achieve their full potential.
It’s no surprise that not many people actually know what ABI stands for. It’s called the invisible injury because when you look at victims like me, we can appear quite normal. It is only when you spend time with us that you discover that something is a bit different. An ABI can manifest itself in lots of ways. Most of us tire very easily and when we do, we can slur our words or stutter. We can become fixated on things, forgetful, anxious and mood swings are pretty common. Everyone with an ABI has a unique set of symptoms.
A brain injury can be terrifying and a massive concern for our families. They have us back more or less as we looked before our accidents but we are not the same. In my case, apart from a slight limp and some seriously interesting scars - I’ve covered most of them up with sexy tattoos - only the people that really know me understand I have a brain injury.
But ABI can happen to anyone. Many of the patients at the McKellar Centre are children who have sustained brain injuries as a result of road accidents, strokes and falls. These little people need our special help.
I am so grateful for the care and support I have been given by the McKellar rehab team that I want to give back in some small way. My hope is to raise $15000 towards the building a new rehabilitation centre dedicated to the care of children with ABI and I would like to ask for your support to help me get there.
On 25 August with a group of the gym friends who have motivated me we are holding a fundraising evening at The Pier in Geelong. We are calling ourselves “Guys in Ties for ABI” because we all know that many people in our community have family and friends struggling with brain injury. Tickets are just $35 a head and if you would like to come along please just give me a call on 0452 293 400 or your can book online at
You can also make a donation directly through this page. Just click on the donation button at the top of the page.
Just one last thing. This page is called Everyday Hero. Believe me I’m not a hero. The real heroes are the men and women at the McKellar Centre who share the journey with us and are with us every step of the way.