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Mooroopna resident issues 'brainfreeze' challenge

Mooroopna's Rebecca Burchat, who suffers idiopathic intracranial hypertension, has challenged people to take a 'brainfreeze' challenge to help raise awareness of the disease.

ESTELLE GRIEPINK September 3, 2014 3:12am

Rebecca Burchat has idiopathic intracranial hypertension, which causes her headaches and vision loss. She is inviting people to do the Blindfolded Brainfreeze Challenge to raise awareness of the illness.


A Mooroopna resident is pouring cold water on the Ice Bucket Challenge by seeking to create a new trend — the Blindfolded Brainfreeze Challenge.

Rebecca Burchat has a rare disease called idiopathic intracranial hypertension.

The disease occurs when fluid places pressure on the skull and, in turn, puts pressure on the brain.

Ms Burchat, 29, lives with a constant, ‘‘brainfreeze’’-like headache and sometimes cannot get out of bed because of the pain.

She also suffers vision loss, from swollen optic nerves, which has had disastrous consequences in the past.

Last year, she was driving on Peter Ross-Edwards Causeway between Shepparton and Mooroopna when she had a ‘‘blackout’’ and ran off the road.

‘‘That was pretty scary, I still can’t remember what happened,’’ Ms Burchat said.

The combined symptoms of ‘‘brainfreezes’’ and vision loss are the inspiration behind the Blindfolded Brainfreeze Challenge.

 

Participants are asked to quickly consume a frozen item, such as a slurpie or ice-cream, while having their eyes covered.

They are required to film the challenge and upload it online to nominate more people.

 

‘‘This is the closest anyone can feel to what a person with this disease goes through with headaches,’’ Ms Burchat said.

‘‘The challenge was started by a group of people in Texas, USA, and now it’s coming to Australia.’’

 

Ms Burchat said she hoped the Blindfolded Brainfreeze Challenge would become as popular as the Ice Bucket Challenge, which rose to global prominence last month.

 

In that challenge, participants pour buckets of ice over themselves to raise money and awareness for motor neurone disease.

But Ms Burchat said she was primarily asking people to take the challenge in order to raise awareness.

About one in 100000 people have idiopathic intracranial hypertension and Ms Burchat said she was the only person in the Goulburn Valley who had been diagnosed.

‘‘The closest person I know who has it is in Albury,’’ she said.

‘‘There might be people who have it around here, but they don’t know that the symptoms could be for IH.’’

 

To participate in the challenge, film yourself getting a brainfreeze while blindfolded and upload the video to social media using the hashtag #BBF. Donations can be made at www.ih-australia.com.au or www.ihrfoundation.org

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