Speaker to bring unique story to inspirational event
By Chad Ingram
Sharon Campbell-Rayment is not Scottish, although she speaks with a Scottish accent.
Campbell-Rayment, who will give a keynote address at the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce’s first Inspiring Women’s Luncheon later this month, is one of only a few dozen people in the world living with foreign accent syndrome, which she acquired through a brain injury.
“That’s what I’m going to be talking about, is how that happened,” Campbell-Rayment tells the Echo. A horseback-riding accident about a decade ago led to the brain injury and subsequent concussion.
“I was diagnosed as completely disabled, I stuttered, I couldn’t process words together,” she says.
When language did return for Campbell-Rayment, the Canadian woman had acquired a Scottish accent. While she describes herself as sixth-generation Scottish, her family coming from Scotland generations ago, “none of my family spoke with an accent,” she says, adding that human DNA has more memory than we give it credit for.
While this part of her story is obviously unique, Campbell-Rayment explains she uses it as a segue to talk about the more serious aspects of experiencing and living with a brain injury, and the ways she’s dealt with it.
“That accident put a real standstill to my life,” she says. Beginning her career as a nurse, Campbell-Rayment had also become a minister, and then gone on to become an entrepreneur. Her newfound condition meant she couldn’t do many of the things she’d done before, and as she explains, recovering from her injury taught her to slow down, becoming more present, focused and mindful.
“We all need to keep living and making a living,” she says.
Campbell-Rayment had to retrain her brain.
“Of course, we know that the brain is bent on negativity,” she says, adding that developing strategies for maintaining positive thought were also part of her journey.
In the years since her accident, Campbell-Rayment has become an acclaimed author and speaker, using her experience and research to create what she calls her NeuroMindSHIFT process, which she says helps build the brain’s resiliency with the ability to regain focus quickly when drawn off task, freeing the mind from common traps, and creating habits that lead to more focused thinking, better decision making and more effective problem solving.
The Inspiring Women’s Luncheon will take place at the Haliburton Legion on Thursday, Nov. 28 from noon until 2 p.m. and tickets are $30. For more information or to register, visit www.haliburtonchamber.com.