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Casey Thompson - Paint 'em Pink

Personal Stories

Casey Thompson - Paint 'em Pink

On May 8, 2008, when I was 22, I was going to bed at about 10.30pm, when I had a strange ringing in my ears. I was able to rouse my parents, before collapsing. That is the last thing I remember for about 6 weeks, due to a coma and then incredibly strong medication. When I became aware, I was in the Royal Melbourne Hospital, having suffered a brain aneurysm and subsequent stroke in my brain stem.

I had immediate brain surgery, removing one of the bone flaps at the base of my skull, to reduce the pressure caused by swelling.

The aneurysm affected the muscles in my throat, so I had to breathe through a tube at the base of my throat. I was fed via a tube that ran from my nose to my stmach. I had to relearn to speak, breathe and chew.

I then lived-in at the Queen Elizabeth rehabilitation centre, here in Ballarat, for about 3 months, where I had to relearn speech and basic self-care. Nearly 7 years on, I am still trying to gain back the ability to walk independently.

The ruptured aneurysm and stroke have left me with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

Upon leaving rehab, I met my now husband Matt. In 2011, at the age of 31, Matt also had a stroke, following open heart surgery in 2010 to replace a faulty heart valve, affecting his short term memory, language, and internal thermostat, and leaving him with an ABI also. Since then, he has also battled internal bleeding requiring a blood transfusion and bowel cancer.

In 2012, despite these setbacks, we welcomed our perfectly healthy son, Joseph, into the world and in July, he will have a sibling.

When I was still in hospital, my best and oldest friend would come and visit me. She would read me bits from magazines, and ensure I was up to date with both real world and celebrity gossip. One day, she painted my nails pink.

It took nearly 6 years for me to get that memory back, but now that I have, I have been inspired by it, and last year launched "Paint 'em Pink for ABI". (

On May 8th, I am asking people to paint their nails pink, donate to Synapse and, most importantly, raise awareness of ABI, which is a cause very close to my heart.


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