I’m Allie, a college student from Massachusetts, USA, and I was lucky enough to work as an intern at The National Brain Appeal recently.

I was keen to intern for the charity because it supports one of the world’s leading centres for diagnosis, treatment and care for a wide range of neurological disorders and neuromuscular conditions. Having lost two grandparents to Alzheimer’s, and watching other family members and friends suffer from conditions such ‘s multiple sclerosis and brain tumours, I felt this was my way of helping to contribute to finding treatments and cures.

The team here gave me a great welcome and I got to work on several different projects during my time. My main focus was the A Letter in Mind art exhibition and the Christmas raffle and sales. Although Christmas is still months away, I learnt as an event planner, it’s never too early to start planning! One of the most rewarding tasks I have had, was working on the information stall in the hospital where we sold cards, gifts and other small trinkets or ‘bric-a-brac’ (as they call it here!). It gave me a chance to speak with the patients and see how much every little bit counts. I loved listening to their stories and seeing how, even in my short time at The National Brain Appeal, I’ve made a difference. Every task I’ve done, whether large or small has made a positive impact.

It was wonderful working with such compassionate people and I gained skills that will be so useful in future. Along with the technical skills, I brought my new British vocabulary back to America. I learned the guillotine is what we call a ‘paper cutter’ in the US − at first I was really shocked when I was told to go and use the guillotine in the meeting room!

I’m so grateful for the skills, vocabulary, and guidance I’ve received from The National Brain Appeal. They helped me to experience the culture of England with tips on things to do, places to visit, and even took me on a trip to a café to have a real English breakfast. This has been a rewarding experience I’ll always cherish.

Allie Zinni, Massachusetts, USA


A proper English brekkie! L-R: Volunteer Dana, fundraising team Jess and Brooke, and volunteers Allie and Kindsey