Canberran, father-of-one, Dane McCormack trained in precision manufacturing and went on to work for several of the world’s biggest companies including Boeing, and KPMG. Having transitioned into business strategy development in space systems he was diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoma.
It was during his 12-month cancer treatment in 2018 that Dane contracted bacterial infection- encephalitis while in hospital. The encephalitis affected a large area of his brain which saw his long and short-term memory deeply affect particularly facial recognition, he also lost his senses of taste and smell.
Dane praised the work of the team at his rehabilitation hospital where he was transferred, “I got moved to the University of Canberra Rehabilitation Hospital, which had only been opened for six months when I got there and you’d expect teething problems with a new facility, but I couldn’t find a single one. They’re amazing! They rehabilitated me back to life.”
“They got me back in front of a computer, and I found out the Australian Space Agency had been established which got me really excited to get back to work.”
“It tested me out to see how much and how many hours I can do when I get back to work. The short-term memory issues were an issue and they talked me through the strategies to do that, including writing things down.”
It was while thinking about returning to work and being told he would be a different man, Dane decided to write down his career story to help him remember his past and who he was. Writing down his own story has led Dane to explore his heritage, and the people and places around him in his self-titled blog.
After four and a half years living with a brain injury Dane’s said, “my advice is to focus on the positives that come out of the negatives, writing is particularly good as it explores what you go through and how you’re dealing with it and what’s next.”
“Open and honest communication is good, so be open about what you’re going through and how you’re going through it. It helps people understand what you need. When you need to be pushed. When you need to be left alone.”
Dane volunteers for Synapse as a Reconnection peer group leader and runs a group in Canberra for those living with a brain injury can come together in supportive space and share their stories.