When you think you might not make it...
a phoenix rises from the ashes!

A book about Strength Courage Transformation

When you think you might not make it...
a phoenix rises from the ashes!

A book about Strength Courage Transformation

Read one of Australia’s most extraordinary tales of triumph and survival. The Phoenix Rising follows Helen Ross Lee’s recovery from an extremely severe brain injury- an incredible journey that no one thought possible.

Read the Women's Weekly 5 Page Article

The Story of “Hack My Brain,” Todd Sampson, BrainHQ, and Dr Merzenich

On September 19, 2014, at 8:00 p.m., the Science Channel aired a 3-part documentary called “Hack My Brain.” As the chief scientific consultant for the show, DR Merzenich helped the host, Todd Sampson, improve his memory, attention, and processing speed using BrainHQ. (If you want to try the same assessments and training Todd used, go to BrainHQ.com/HackMyBrain.) The show was originally made for an Australian audience, where it appeared as Redesign My Brain and received an AACTA Award for Best Documentary.

‘Among a variety of techniques Helen used, to retrain her brain function, Helen found ‘Brain HQ’ to be highly effective. Her intelligence level was estimated to be at an above average range, just 5 years following her injury. Would YOU like to read the book she wrote about her recovery?

During a routine hang-gliding training exercise, Helen’s life was changed forever.

March 11th of 2008 started as a regular day for champion hang-glider pilot Helen Ross Lee.

Having competed in 4 world championship level hang-glider events, Helen was regarded by many as “hang-gliding royalty…” and “one of the best female hang-glider pilots in the world.

She was fearless, no stranger to adventure and wouldn’t dare back down from a challenge.

In preparation for a competition in Dalby, Queensland, Helen’s practice flight went terribly wrong. Discovered unconscious and not breathing, Helen was rushed to hospital with an extremely severe, traumatic brain injury.

Medical personnel informed Helen that she would be unlikely to recover, neither physically nor neurologically… …But she did.

Refusing to give up, Helen did not submit to her negative prognosis. There was still far too much she wanted to see, do and accomplish.

Stripped of her ability to walk, talk or form cohesive thoughts, Helen took the reins on her own recovery and spent the next ten years documenting the journey.

As it happens, Helen’s unpublished manuscript was first read and endorsed by one of the world’s most experienced Neuroplasticians

“The book [The Phoenix Rising] is an astonishing document of self-determination and self-regulation and will become a model text not only for the many hundreds of thousands brain-damaged people in the world and their families but also as a document for the scientific research of brain plasticity and brain recovery. It documents a fascinating story of determination and strength which will certainly find many readers worldwide.”

– Prof. Dr. H.C. Mult. Niels Birbaumer, Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioural Neurobiology, University of Tubingen

Professor Birbaumer has been awarded numerous international prizes including the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, the Albert Einstein World Award of Science and the Helmholtz Medal of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and many other honors such as honorary doctorates, including from Complutense University, Madrid, Spain. In 2013 he received the Aristotle Prize of the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations for bridging the gap between basic science and applied research in cortical psychophysiology. In 2014 he was awarded the Eva Luise Köhler Research Prize for Rare Diseases from the former President of Germany, and in 2015 the best-selling book he co-authored with Jörg Zittlau, ‘Dein Gehirn weiß mehr, als Du denkst’ (Your mind knows more than you think), was chosen for the Austrian Science book of the year.
Professor Birbaumer is member of the National German Academy and the Academy of Science and Literature, Mainz.
Professor Birbaumer’s legal representative was taking action against the perpetrators of defamation against him towards the end of 2021.

‘Defamations against Birbaumer by Spüler in Discover Magazine were a case in a German Law-suit in early 2022. They were all false and the Organisation who endorsed this the German Research Society had to publish their defeat in March of 2022.

“We were accused of falsifying the data, so I sued those people, particularly the university,” Birbaumer said. “We won the case, and that means that the organization who was responsible for this judgment has to lift the retraction.”

Despite being part of the medical world for over 28 years, Helen had never seen nor experienced anything like it.

“While I was an inpatient, not one member of the Acute Care Medical Team caring for me mentioned to me that Neuroplasticity was a scientifically verifiable fact.

Neuroplasticity is a theory that was not widely embraced by medical communities until the late 20th century, when breakthrough research determined that both adolescent and adult brains can reorganise their own structure to form new connections between neuron pathways.

Helen, conducting her own research, discovered that in 2013, Canadian-born Australian Todd Sampson had produced an award-winning documentary called ‘Redesign my Brain.’

And within that same year, Helen had done it. She had successfully retrained and redesigned her brain.

"I am not attempting to inspire anyone; I am simply trying to survive."

"I am not attempting to inspire anyone; I am simply trying to survive."

Don’t lose sight of your recovery. What seems impossible becomes an achievable reality with hard work and willpower.

Anyone and everyone can redesign their brain, providing they exercise their brains in the proper manner.

“All I’ve ever wanted to do is to help people,” Helen says. Helen is still a nurse at heart.

As written in Professor Birbaumer’s Foreword: “Helen certainly knows about survival. This is one bright little star to keep your eyes on!”

Watch this inspiring video Helen produced on her struggles. 

“I feel that through my own experiences, I have a lot to offer many people in order to inspire and motivate them.” – Helen Ross Lee

Chalk & Cheese

If you were the select few who were lucky enough to read the first edition, the self-published version of ‘The Phoenix Rising’ before it was professionally edited  and published then I urge you to read this refined version.. the difference is “Chalk and Cheese”

The Phoenix Rising is a unique example of how far human determination can take us. Watch as one woman’s story paves the way for the hundreds of thousands of people with brain injuries.

Over 700,000 Australians suffer from a brain injury that impairs their ability to participate and enjoy daily activities.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 700,000 Australians have a brain injury, with daily “activity limitations” and “participation restrictions”. Three in every four of these people are aged 65 or under. As many as two out of every three acquired their brain injury before the age of 25. Three-quarters of people with a brain injury are men Source: Brain Injury Australia information is current as of 2021.
If you or somebody you know has suffered from a traumatic brain injury, know that you are not alone in your journey. While Helen’s rehabilitation continues to be an ongoing process, small steps eventually amount to a complete staircase and a more independent and proactive life in Helen’s circumstance.

The Phoenix Rising is the ideal read for anyone who has been told that recovery is impossible, hard work will not pay off, and life with an acquired brain injury cannot be fruitful. This memoir is a unique, inspirational story from which anyone and everyone can draw strength and motivation to use in our individual lives.

Inspiring Lives Magazine

Purchase Helen’s e-book today from the below link

Click on the button below to go straight to the Amazon Review page to see our 5 star rating

The Truth is Often Stranger than Fiction

Helen has always been a Nurse at heart. She had worked at Pindara Private Hospital on the Gold Coast, since 1992, in the Accident and Emergency Department. Helen Ross had been a highly successful female competition hang glider pilot in 1996 but she retired from flying altogether in order to focus on her small family.

Ten years later, when her two children were 7 and 9 years of age, she attempted to re-enter the sport, without having completed the required level of training. On her 2nd launch, an accident occurred, leaving her unconscious and with what turned out to be an “extremely severe traumatic brain injury”.

Not one member of the Acute Care Medical Team caring for Helen, mentioned to her that Neuroplasticity was a scientifically verifiable fact.

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by Helen Ross Lee

The book is an astonishing document of self-determination and self-regulation and will become a model text not only for the many hundreds of thousands of brain damaged people in the world and their families but also as a document for the scientific research of brain plasticity and brain recovery. This is despite her receiving an extremely negative prognosis from the neurologist caring for her initially. The text is written in a clear and understandable English and documents a fascinating story of determination and strength. In contrast to many similar documentations in the rehabilitation literature Helen’s book is not only a personal document but embraces intuitively many scientific determinants of brain plasticity through self-regulated learning. It is a fascinating read for scientists and lay persons and of course a moving emotional story which will certainly find many readers worldwide.  I recommend publication of ‘The Phoenix Rising A Story of Survival’ without hesitation and with enthusiasm.

Prof. Dr. h.c. mult. Niels Birbaumer
Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioural Neurobiology, University of Tuebingen, Germany
Wyss Center for Bio and Neuro Engineering, Genèva, Switzerland’


To call Helen’s survival a miracle would be to discredit her dogged drive, eternal hope and sheer passion for life. The same goes for her book, The Phoenix Rising. This is the story of Helen’s extraordinary recovery from a traumatic brain injury, but it’s also a tale of love, grit and glory. In the book – and indeed her life – Helen’s relationship with her husband Wayne is a shining light. Helen writes about herself, her hang-gliding accident and marriage with complete honesty and thoughtful reflection. As a narrator, Helen is candid and captivating. As a person, she’s refreshing, rousing and downright charming. Try not to be inspired by Helen’s story, I dare you.

– Alley Pascoe, journalist Marie Claire Australia, The Australian Women’s Weekly and Women’s Agenda ‘


‘‘I followed Helen’s recovery, reading her self-published book and going to the small book launch held in 2016. ‘‘     ‘‘Fast forward to 2020 and Helen sent me 2 copies of her traditionally published book. I contacted Helen, saying “I believe your story is required to be told to the world…there are always people out there who are non-believers, their problem not yours

My energy and heart is with you.

Jan Lloyd


An Amazon endorsement: The Phoenix Rising: A True Story of Survival by Helen Ross Lee, is an original and bold addition to a growing number of memoirs by survivors of severe traumatic brain injury, or TBI. Shedding light on the TBI epidemic across the globe, Australian writer Lee guides readers from her days as a dedicated nurse, mother, wife, and adventurous hang glider pilot, through several relationships and marriages, and down into continual torment that is life and recovery from TBI – her honesty is stunning in detail. Her Australian idioms (“one sandwich short of a picnic”) add to her fluid writing. As a fellow survivor, I relate easily to Lee’s loss of the ability to cry, her vision difficulties, and her hatred of “lack of privacy” as she relies on “carers” to shave her legs and her tenacious and daring attempts to try all means possible to alleviate the smaller yet irritating symptoms (eye patches, incontinence) following damage to the brain. Lee’s relentless sojourn through Australian healthcare organizations will remind Americans that our nation often lacks funding for the severely disabled. Lee, however, ends with a bid for “hope” and “optimism” for all sufferers of debilitating conditions. This is a “must read” for those with TBI who wish to learn more of vitamin therapy, mindfulness, acupuncture, neuroplasticity, brain training – and the truth that myriad character traits (courage, stubbornness, the desire to taste coffee) can and do survive severe TBI.

-Kelly Bouldin-Darmofal,

TBI survivor, author of Lost In My Mind and 101 Tips for Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury

An Amazon endorsement: I would like to add my endorsement to that of Professor Niels Birbaumer’s, having just finished reading the whole of Helen’s manuscript. Whilst Helen’s rehabilitation continues to be an ongoing process, small steps eventually amount to a full staircase, and, in Helen’s circumstance, a more independent and proactive life. This book is an ideal read for all people whom have been told that recovery is impossible, hard work will not pay off, and life with an acquired brain injury cannot be fruitful. Moreover, this book is a unique, inspirational story from which all will draw strength and motivation to use in our individual lives. I highly recommend the read.

–Travis Docherty, MPhty, B Ex Sc, assistant professor, Bond University director of Allied Health Services Australia, Rehabilitation At Home, Physiotherapy Rehabilitation Services, and Paediatric Centre, Gold Coast

An Amazon endorsement: It is a privilege to know you, Helen, and your story is worth telling the world about and sharing! I have been so excited to finally hold your book in my hands and to be able to read about your life and your experiences. Your determination will no doubt inspire others to never, ever give up! Your book is basically in three parts: before the accident, the accident, and your recovery, and I thank you for not holding back and sharing intimate details of your life with the reader. I also enjoyed the photographs that accompany your prolific writing. This book is very special, and I am so honoured to know the writer – you, Helen – in person and to have been able to follow your amazing recovery over the years. You and your book are truly inspirational.

–Michaela Kloeckner, ceramic artist, Gold Coast Potters Association


An Amazon endorsement: This is an amazing story of recovery from TBI, demonstrating resilience, neuroplasticity and an inspiring strength. I recommend this book to anyone suffering from TBI or other acquired brain injury and to health professionals working in this field – it is a message of hope that we all can learn from. Beautifully written and inspirational.

Australian Professor of neuroplasticity Harry McConnell

“As I read your book and see on the pages the story of a strong and resilient woman, it seems an awful shame for that strength to be weakened by something like being selected to speak at TEDxSydney.” 

  The Head of Operations  TEDxSydney 

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