Brain injury survivors at Headway Wearside met with MP Julie Elliott to share their inspiring stories of life after brain injury.
Julie met Headway Wearside service users during a gym session at the University of Sunderland this month, to find out more about the vital support they receive from the charity.
Headway Wearside supports brain injury survivors, their families and carers by providing information and social activities, as well as raising awareness of acquired brain injury.
Service users attend weekly sports rehabilitation activities run by the University of Sunderland including gym sessions, walking football and bowling.
Stephen Sanders, who suffers from severe speech and mobility problems as a result of his brain injury, was excited to have the chance to meet his local MP.
He said: "I was really pleased to meet Julie, to explain what it's like to live with a brain injury and show her how Headway Wearside helps people like me."
When Stephen, 59, joined the sports sessions, he was predominantly wheelchair bound and had been told he would never walk unaided again.
However, thanks to the support of Headway Wearside and the university's volunteers, he has defied all expectations and can now walk by himself.
Julie said: "It was marvellous to see the positive impact Headway Wearside has had on so many people - not only those with acquired brain injuries, but also their families and carers.
"I very much enjoyed talking to members and carers during my visit. It is inspiring to see how the beneficial services provided by Headway have helped so many people."
Paul Brown, Chair of Headway Wearside, said: “I would like to thank Julie for visiting the gym session and finding out more about the work of Headway Wearside.
"We couldn't provide our essential support and services without our wonderful volunteers and the fundraising efforts from the general public.
"We hope more people will consider fundraising to support survivors like Stephen."
Rob Graham, Sports Development Officer at the University of Sunderland said: "It was great to welcome Julie, our local MP, to the University of Sunderland.
"We really enjoyed having the opportunity to showcase some of the amazing volunteering work our students do and the essential service Headway Wearside provides its users."