Mark’s taking back control

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By James Williamson

In January 2013 Mark Wearne, then 40 years old, was struck down by a brain aneurysm resulting in an acquired brain injury that has left him fighting to take back control of his life. Little by little, with the help of family and carers and his strong, fearless character, Mark is winning that fight.

After two and a half years in hospital, in May 2015 Mark was finally able to come home to live with his parents in country Victoria. As full time carers, Ann and Simon Wearne play a critical role in Mark’s recovery. Together with Monash Health, where Mark participates in a research project, they are helping him to regain control of his life – and they are doing that with some help from JMB Foundation.

JMB is pleased to have been able to provide assistance for Mark by funding the purchase of equipment, including a portable access ramp for outings, and a specialised recliner chair for Mark’s use at home. A keen music enthusiast, Mark finds great enjoyment in relaxing in his recliner and listening to his favourites – the Beatles and Pink Floyd are top of his list – in a familiar home environment with his body safely, correctly and comfortably positioned.

Mark at home relaxing in his recliner chair.

Ann says funding from JMB has been an enormous help. Recounting the long days of Mark’s recovery, she describes the great amounts of time spent on physio and hydrotherapy, getting his brain ‘reconnected’, trying to walk again, and simply dealing with life. Mark didn’t speak for nearly eight months after his ABI. “That Mark couldn’t communicate was probably the hardest part,” she says.

These days Mark is able to fish, play pool, and chat with his mates. One of the things that has helped most is being able to come home, but the daily routine for his parents is challenging and they have had very little time to share with each other. Importantly, JMB has provided a grant to cover the cost of respite care, so that Ann and Simon can take some much-needed time off from caring for Mark 24/7, and Ann says this has made a real difference to their lives.

“We want to give Mark access to all things,” Ann says. “Music’s a big part of his new life. He remembers all the lyrics – we’ve heard him singing Knock, Knock, Knocking on Heaven’s Door at the top of his voice! It gets him back to basics which is so vital for his recovery.”

“Our son is living the best life he possibly can under the circumstances. Mark’s injury hasn’t in any way changed the fighting spirit he’s always had. Now he’s living life, enjoying his music, his relationships, his family. He’s taking back control. But without the help from JMB, he would not have progressed nearly as far.”