My Amazing Brain: Richard’s War
This event is a screening of the film ‘My Amazing Brain: Richard’s War’, followed by a panel discussion on rehabilitation for people with disabilities.
LSHTM & Global Health Film series
What happens after a catastrophic stroke?
‘My Amazing Brain: Richard’s War’, which first appeared on BBC Horizon, details the rarely seen journey back to recovery. Fly-on-the-wall footage recorded over four years by his wife Fiona, a filmmaker, shows the hard journey of Richard Gray's recovery. Initially bed bound and unable to do anything, Fiona tells us that the outlook for him is bleak. Yet we see small glimmers of hope. We witness the moment his fingers move for the first time, and over the following months, watch him relearn how to walk again. In archive footage, we see and hear him at his professional best, as a peacekeeper with the United Nations during the war in Sarajevo, Bosnia. We hear from surgeons and clinicians integral to his recovery, as they describe life-saving surgery, high-risk reconstructive surgery and the intensive rehabilitation programmes Richard goes through in his journey to recovery. Fiona narrates the film, including excerpts from her diary, in which she describes how she felt as she saw her husband, once a rugged soldier, decimated by the stroke. As the film starts, she asks “will Richard, my Richard still be there?” As the filming concludes, the answer is clear.
The film screening will be followed by a 45-minute panel discussion on rehabilitation in the UK and across the world, with our panel members below.
- Hannah Kuper (Chair)
Hannah Kuper is Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the International Centre for Evidence in Disability (ICED). ICED aim to provide evidence that will improve the health and wellbeing of people with disabilities globally, developing tools, techniques and evidence on disability, that lead to scalable interventions. In recent years, this has included an assessment on the impact of physical rehabilitation services for persons with lower limb amputation in Myanmar, and exploration of the barriers to uptake of rehabilitation services among children with disabilities in Malawi.
- Fiona Lloyd-Davies
Fiona Lloyd-Davies is a film-maker and Richard Gray's wife. Fiona has been making films and taking pictures in areas of conflict and hostile environments since starting her career in Bosnia during the war. She has worked for the BBC, Channel 4, Al Jazeera and many others in a career that has spanned over 25 years.
- Suresh Kamalakannan
Suresh Kamalakannan is an Associate Professor at Public Health Foundation India, visiting fellow at ICED and an Occupational Therapist. His work has seen him develop scalable innovations that mainstream disability and strengthen health systems in resource-poor settings. Recently, this included the development and evaluation of a smartphone, carer-supported, educational intervention for management of physical disabilities following a stroke, for persons in India.
- Phil Edwards
Phil Edwards is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Statistics at LSHTM. When Phil was 51, he suffered a severe Ischaemic stroke, losing the use of his left arm and leg. After 2 months in a specialist stroke unit, he transferred to a programme of neurorehabilitation as one of the unit’s youngest inpatients. After one month of daily occupational therapy and physiotherapy, he was able to walk a short distance using a walking stick. However, he became more and more aware that he would not soon recover the use of his left hand and that he may never play his beloved stringed musical instruments again. After 4 months, Phil returned to giving lectures at LSHTM.
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