BECOMING THE CHANGE: RaeLea Foley hopes that her story and her struggles will inspire similar people in her situation.
BECOMING THE CHANGE: RaeLea Foley hopes that her story and her struggles will inspire similar people in her situation. Contributed

Meet the woman fighting for brain injury survivors

RAELEA Foley, 21, was forced to go back to work just a month after an work-related accident that gave her permanent brain injuries.

But she has turned what was a very dark period in her life into something beautiful as she prepares to open a charity for people with brain injuries working the agriculture industry.

On June 3, 2018, Miss Foley, now 21, was bucked from her horse at her workplace just outside of Dalby, and suffered permanent brain injuries.

Five weeks later she was back at work, but ended up in hospital two days after her return.

"I wasn't really given the option at work, unfortunately, it was just kind of 'you need to do your job',” Miss Foley said.

So Miss Foley teamed up with BeefitUp Australia and the Australian Horizons Foundation to deliver her charity, Dust Off Brain Bust.

"A lot of this has been my drive to start my charity because... brain injuries in agriculture are not talked about,” she said.

"There's certainly no coverage and there's no organisations that talk about it.”

Miss Foley found out she wasn't alone in her situation when she began posting in groups of social media.

Her posts attracted an wave of attention from people in the agriculture industry working through their brain injuries.

"I thought 'I'm going to do something about this',” Miss Foley said.

"They all have the same issues, they're not getting financial help, they can't work - and I've had that in my last two jobs.”

To say her injuries impact the way she works and her ability to find employment would be an understatement.

"I've been applying for jobs and a lot of people come back and look at my resume say they want to offer me the job, and I say 'I need to tell you, I've had this accident and these are the things I'm suffering from',” Miss Foley said.

"They say 'it's just not safe for us to have you in a workplace'.”

Miss Foley's symptoms from her brain injuries still linger and affect her day-to-day work and life.

"I have migraines several times a day, I've lost a lot of my hearing... I have blurriness in my vision, I have really bad short term memory loss,” she said.

But Miss Foley hopes that her adversities will lighten the load for those suffering just as she has.

"I don't really mind about myself because that's just my reality, but if I can help someone else then that's what I want to do.”


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