Rebecca Cochran coping with brachial plexus injury, on track to start support organisation


Rebecca Cochran Picture: Matt Jelonek d452415
Rebecca Cochran Picture: Matt Jelonek d452415

THE past year has been a tough journey for Victoria Park resident Rebecca Cochran but it’s also awoken a fiery desire for her to continue to help others in similar situations.

A motorcycle accident in March 2015 left Ms Cochran with a brachial plexus injury.

Initially, it rendered her right arm near useless but a year on Ms Cochran has had the time to adjust and reflect on her new way of life.

“It’s definitely been a humbling experience, and I’ve learnt that everyone should be thankful for their lives,” Ms Cochran said.

“I nearly lost mine and now I’m living with a life-long disability and chronic pain, so I’m living proof that your life can change in an instant.”

While the tough news that she might never use her arm or hand again was heavy on Ms Cochran emotionally, physically and mentally, she said she had learned to celebrate the little victories that gave her more independence.

“I accepted quite a while ago that I might not use my arm again, so each time I have an improvement it’s extra exciting,” she said.

“I am quite prepared to live with my arm as it is, I’ve adapted ways to allow myself to take care of my family and myself.

“There are many things I can’t do without help, but I’m okay with that, the frustration rises and falls.”

On her positive days, Ms Cochran said she felt like the accident bestowed a purpose on her and led her on the journey to creating Brachial Plexus Australia, a national organisation to unite sufferers.

She said during her research on her own injury, she learnt more babies were born with brachial plexus injuries each year than Down syndrome.

“I’m very excited about Brachial Plexus Australia, maybe this was the path my life was meant to take,” she said.

Ms Cochran is currently in the process of registering her organisation as a legal entity in WA, then she plans to register the association as an Australian charity to make donations tax deductible.

While her ambitions are high for the organisation, she also has further plans to provide education to hospital emergency and birthing rooms.

“Emergency staff need to be aware that brachial plexus injuries are very common in motorcycle, vehicle and sporting injuries,” Ms Cochran said.

“Anything life threatening, it should be the first thing looked fore because it is a permanent and serious injury affecting quality of life.”

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that originate in the neck region and branch off to form most of the other nerves that control movement and sensation in the upper limbs, including the shoulder, arm, forearm, and hand. The radial, median, and ulnar nerves originate in the brachial plexus.Organisation taking shape

Speaking with Southern Gazette earlier this year in a story published January 12, Rebecca Cochran announced plans to kick-start the Brachial Plexus Australia organisation and unify the brachial plexus injury community.

Three months later, she has developed her strategic plan and is on her way to making The Brachial Plexus Association of Australia Inc legitimate.

“Pinpointing the action required to get us up and running was intense, thankfully I’ve worked in the law industry and am no stranger to all the jargon and processes,” Ms Cochran said.

While the organisation is still in early days, the well-established website and Facebook group are quickly gaining traction.

“The support group on Facebook is going well and our members are enjoying being able to chat and connect, a real sense of community is emerging,” Ms Cochran said.

“I have a fundraiser going on the website which will help cover the costs of registering with various government agencies and to produce some merchandise available for sale, that’ll begin our regular self earned funds.”

Click here for information or to donate.