Christine Birchnall: Above and Beyond at Work and at Home
Christine Birchnall is a Senior Neuroscience Product Specialist in Yorkshire and Humber in the UK. She knows firsthand how treatments such as Botox can be a boon for people suffering from muscle disorders. Her eldest son has had cerebral palsy since he was 18 months-old. He currently gets shots every three months to help control spasticity. She was so impressed by the difference that Botox made in her son's life that she applied for the Neuroscience job: "I already believed in what Botox can do for patients," she explained. "I have a unique and very personal outlook on the difference Botox can make."
When her son was first diagnosed, Christine and her husband acted fast, finding out what their son needed to live the best quality of life. One of those things was swimming. Spending time in the pool was therapeutic, and helped the toddler gain more muscle control without the impediment of gravity. Christine and Stephen never could have guessed where those first few dips in the pool would end up. A decade later, her son had the Paralympics in sight. He won numerous international swimming awards before he was even a teenager, and swam the distance of the English Channel at age 15 to raise awareness of cerebral palsy in athletes. A year later he decided to hang up his goggles. He turned to sledge hockey and badminton, eventually representing England internationally in the latter.
Is there boldness in the Birchnall lineage? If the Birchnall kids weren't born with it, it was certainly instilled into them by their parents. Christine will tell you it's a mindset. "We go above and beyond at home and that carries through in our work because we go above and beyond at our work. That's what we do." When it came time for younger brother to take up a sport, he didn't want to follow in his big brother's wake. He chose hockey instead. Last year he represented the UK at the Junior Olympics in California.
It isn't about being active. It's about sporting," insists Christine. "It's about the time and effort that you put into anything. What they accomplish from it, they have accomplished themselves."
Being Bold for Life
Could anyone have more of an Allergan spirit than Christine Birchnall? DRIVING RESULTS in her athletic progeny; BUILDING BRIDGES for disabled people to access the treatments they so badly need; BOLDLY balancing both endeavors without missing a beat? If you ask Christine, she will tell you that we haven't even covered what makes her BOLD. What Christine calls her "secondary occupation," she says, is the BOLDEST thing you can do.
As their boys got older and more independent, Christine and Steve began looking for something more to fill their time. Nottingham Social Services approved them as foster parents and the couple enrolled in a UK program called "Disabled for Respite." They started caring for disabled children a weekend at a time to give the children's families a break from the often around-the-clock care that those with special needs require. And so the Birchnalls opened their home to these children, many of them with severe disabilities. Christine is a former nurse, but Steve had to get a crash course in things like how to operate feeding tubes and dispensing medications and treatments. Their motivation? Christine says, "Fostering isn't a job. We consider these children to be part of our family."
The culture of any organization develops as a result of the goals, identity and spirit of its individuals. With people like Christine Birchnall in its ranks, it's no wonder Allergan has a reputation for boldness. "I am not scared of being challenged!" asserts Christine. This is a woman who lives every day for others, in her job and at home. This is a woman who is Bold for Life.
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