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Sir Michael Palin supports The Brain Charity appeal

The much-loved acting and comedy legend donated his time due to his personal experience of the trauma of neurological conditions

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A charity which supports people with neurological conditions has won the support of Sir Michael Palin in making a national fundraising appeal. 

The Brain Charity is the focus of a BBC Lifeline appeal, which shows its work to a national audience by telling the stories of three people who have benefitted from its support. 

Acting and comedy legend Sir Michael donated his time to present The Brain Charity’s appeal from his personal experience of the impact of neurological conditions – his wife was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour more than 25 years ago, and he saw his Monty Python colleague Terry Jones face the effects of dementia before his death last year.

He said: “Neurological conditions have the potential to wreak havoc on the lives of those they affect; something my family and I can relate to.

“My wife was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour more than 25 years ago, and it was a worrying and frightening time for our family.

“That’s why the important work of The Brain Charity is a cause very close to my heart.

“I am delighted to support them by presenting their Lifeline appeal, and hope the film encourages many much-needed donations for such a worthwhile cause.”

Over the past month, the BBC Lifeline crew has travelled across the UK to see first-hand how The Brain Charity helps people with all forms of neurological condition to lead longer, healthier, happier lives by providing practical advice, emotional support and creative activities.

They filmed with mum-of-three Lindsey, from Dunbar, Scotland, who was diagnosed with secondary progressive MS in her brain in October 2020.

The 60-year-old former deputy headteacher went from being a highly paid, hard-working professional to wondering how her family was going to cope.

She found the practical advice she received from The Brain Charity’s information and advice officer Janet ‘life-changing’ and said this reminded her that there was still a future for her post-diagnosis.

The eight-minute film also features Rachel, 46, from Cheshire, who spent two weeks in a coma and had to learn to walk and talk again after experiencing a brain haemorrhage.

After an operation to remove the tangle of blood vessels which had cause the haemorrhage, Rachel began to make a physical recovery, but struggled mentally.

She found it difficult to leave the house due to low confidence around her speech, which had been affected, and experiencing debilitating night terrors that she was back in intensive care.

In May 2020, she was offered six weeks of free counselling from The Brain Charity – which she said was a lifeline. She has since decided to give back by becoming a volunteer phone befriender.

Finally, the feature will focus on 18-year-old Sammee, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and recently moved to Liverpool from London.

The Brain Charity’s Brain Changer Arts Project sessions – which combine neuro-physiotherapy and dance – have helped him gain confidence, express himself creatively and make new friends.

The Lifeline appeal will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer here

All funds raised from the Lifeline appeal will go towards The Brain Charity’s Sixmas appeal, which is raising £60,000 for urgent mental health support for the one in six people left out in the cold to deal with their neurological condition alone this Christmas. 

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