About 30 years ago, Paul Johnson suffered a serious brain injury that put him in a coma for two weeks.
“You can’t do the things you’re supposed to do after that happens. It changes your life,” Johnson said, adding he suffered another brain injury following a vehicle collision in 2014.
This summer, the Red Deer man, who is originally from Africa, helped raise more than $6,000 for the Central Alberta Brain Injury Society through an online push-up challenge.
Earlier in the summer, Johnson saw a friend post a push-up challenge video to raise awareness and money for people with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Johnson wanted to do the challenge as well, but he decided to support people with brain injuries instead.
“Head injuries are lifelong injuries and they can’t be seen. If you break an arm or a leg, you can see the injury and people are aware that you have an injury on your leg or arm. But with brain injuries, people may not understand,” he said.
Johnson posted videos of the challenge throughout much of the summer, which saw him do 25 push-ups every day.
With each video, a friend was nominated to participate – those friends were then asked to take part in the challenge by doing 25 push-up for 25 days, while nominating somebody every day.
“The problem at first was I couldn’t do 25 push-ups,” he said with a laugh.
“I didn’t expect so many people to get involved. Some did it for just a few days, and others did it for the whole month.”
His initial goal was to raise $500, but as the challenge grew more popular and more people began participating online, the goal grew to $5,000.
But raising awareness for brain injuries was equally as important, Johnson added.
“I think the best thing this has done is raise awareness of brain injuries. … I have begun to do really well since I have become aware of my issues.”
For more information on the Central Alberta Brain Society, visit www.cabis.info.