Camlough girl shares her story for Hats 4 Headway campaign

April 7, 2014

It’s time to dust off your finest fascinator, raid the fancy dress box, or even visit your nearest Headway charity shop to get hold of a hat for Headway!

Hats 4 Headway Day, which this year takes place on Friday 16 May, is a simple, fun, and easy way to raise money for Headway and highlight the current campaign to make wearing a helmet compulsory while cycling.

Members of the local community are asked to wear their wackiest hat on Friday 16th May and donate £1 to Headway for the privilege.

Twenty three year old Camlough girl Sinéad King has shared her personal story in support of the worthy campaign.

Seventeen years ago, six year old Sinead fell off her bike while playing outside her house. She hit her head on the tarmac and while she initially appeared to be unhurt, she became unwell and was rushed to Daisy Hill Hospital where it was discovered she had fractured a bone just above her left ear and the fall had caused a blood clot to form on her brain.  Thankfully for the qualified primary school teacher, surgeons acted quickly, performing a life-saving operation straight away.

At the time, Sinead’s family were told that relieving the pressure on her brain just seconds later would have resulted in longterm brain damage or worse for Sinead.

After a week in the Neurology ward with a drain attached to her head to drain off excess blood, Sinead faced a long road to recovery. 15 years later she was still receiving physiotherapy for a severe weakness down the whole left side of her body.  She spent the entire summer of 2008 in plaster and in a wheelchair after an operation to lengthen her Achilles Tendons which had seized as a result of the weakening in her left side.

Despite her ordeal, Sinead knows she was extremely lucky and owes a lot to the medical team who saved her life.  She hopes that by highlighting her story she can convey the vital importance of children wearing helmets, even though they might feel it is “uncool.”

“There’s nothing cool about having no hair and a horseshoe shaped scar with 36 staples in your head,” says Sinead,

“I was unable to walk, talk or do simple things like go to the bathroom on my own.  My family spent countless hours agonising over my condition and how it would continue to affect me for many years to come.

“I don’t want other people to go through this, which is why I’m so passionate about the work Headway do.”

Headway hope that Sinead’s inspirational story and the Hats 4 Headway campaign will encourage parents to sign an online petition to help the organisation lobby local government to change the law regarding bike helmets to make it illegal to cycle without a helmet.

To sign the petition log on to

To take part in Hats 4 Headway Day contact Headway Newry for one of its promotional posters or download one from the ‘Related Resources’ section on the website:, then simply recruit as many people as possible to take part, remembering to send your photos (and donations, please!).and donations to Headway Newry.

This year, for the first time Headway are launching a competition to reward the best hat. There will be two prizes up for grabs – one for the best individual photo and the other for the best group shot from a company.

A book and DVD signed by Headway Vice President James Cracknell are up for grabs as the prize for the best individual hat, while the prize for the best company group shot is a free full-page advertisement in Headway News.

To enter, there’s no need to register. Just send your photos to Andrew Taylor by Friday 23 May, or use the secure form on the website.