high contrast: off
We are moving warehouses and not shipping MagnaReady, Yarrow or ULEX at the moment. Learn More
to the top

Adapting To The New

Rediscovering Myself after a Traumatic Brain Injury

_COMMUNITY / Adapting to the new

My name is Leuty Parker, and I'm recovering from a brain injury. I sound like a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, but I am not an alcoholic, just in recovery from a brain injury, oh and also, I’m diabetic. It can feel isolating to be one person with so many challenges (this lockdown doesn’t help!) but it’s easier knowing I’m not alone. With the pandemic, and with my recovery, I have to find a new familiarity. I’ve got to adapt to my new disability.

My disability is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). My TBI was acquired when I was involved in a motorbike accident in Vietnam. I hit my head when I fell from the motorbike, which caused damage to my vestibular apparatus. This means that I now require a Zimmer frame to support me to walk, I am blind in one eye, I’m very forgetful, and I can't remember much of my past life.

I was born in September 1992 in Edinburgh and at school, I excelled in art; both technically and creatively. I probably inherited this talent because my paternal great-grandparents were artists. My maternal great-grandparents were in the fabric trade and owned Leuty’s Mill in Leeds. So I guess fashion runs in the blood.

I had come far with my career but then fell so far with my brain injury.

When I left school, I got a place at the London College of Fashion to study Fashion Design and Development. It began a journey that led me to work at CuteCircuit, Hussein Chalayan, and Victoria Beckham. But, it was also fashion that brought me to Asia. Before my accident, I was working as a Product Developer with Li and Fung in Hong Kong. I designed interactive labels which informed the wearer about many aspects of the garment such as fabric origin, manufacture, corporate responsibility, design story, and fabric care; all transmitted to the potential buyer’s smartphone via NFC signal, and integral to the marketing process.

I had come far with my career but then fell so far with my brain injury.

My brain injury has affected my vision and I can now see in only one eye. 

My memory was wiped and the account of my previous life is based on what people have told me and the information held on my computer. The brain injury also affected my balance and my ability to walk.

Learning to adapt to my disability has been a challenging but empowering experience.

So now I am in the process of learning how to adapt my career to my disability. I try to improve my memory by keeping a diary (sometimes a dream diary) to remind me of particular things. I do regular exercises to improve my balance and walking. Even though I find it exceptionally difficult to read, I still read every day. 

On a lighter note, I guess you could say that one good thing about my TBI is that if I didn’t like something about my old self, I can change that memory and now live how I wish. I can also rediscover things that I loved before in a new and different way.

Learning to adapt to my disability has been a challenging but empowering experience. It has taught me that there is so much that we should not take for granted – whether that’s memory, sight, or a sense of humour. 

Strangely, 2020 was a good year to have a brain injury and to be able to learn how to adapt. The pandemic forced us to prioritise digital technologies, bringing me closer, with greater intimacy to my family, friends, and the fashion industry. My brain injury has taught me the importance of adapting, innovating, and the need for us all to find a new commonplace.

Please share your adventures with us at share@juniperunltd.com
My Cart Close