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NY actress nicknamed ‘Dory’ uses notes app to remember friends, family after she suffered brain injury

A woman with memory loss makes memos on everyone in her life so she can remember details about them – and has been nicknamed Dory by her friends.

Megan Mackenzie, 27, suffered a traumatic brain injury after she fell off a stage in school and hit the back of her head.

The author had to relearn to talk without a stutter and over time realized she was struggling with short and long-term memory loss.

Megan Mackenzie suffered a brain injury at 17 that left her with memory loss. Megan Mackenzie / SWNS

Now she keeps a memo for every friend or family member in her notes app on her phone – detailing things such as their favorite color, birthday and places they like to go.

Megan, an actress and college educator, from New York City said: “When I was in school I got pushed off a stage and hit the bottom of a piano. I hit the back of my head.

“I had to relearn how to speak.

“Then I realised I didn’t have a memory anymore. I can remember how things make me feel but the details are blurred.

“I spent the next few years navigating the new normal.

Megan Mackenzie suffered the traumatic injury after she was pushed off a stage in high school and hit the back of her head. Megan Mackenzie / SWNS

“Each person has a personalized notes app.

“A lot of my friends know and let me tell the same stories over a million times.

“A lot of my friends call me Dory [from Finding Nemo]. I always say ‘just keep swimming.’ ”

Megan was 17 years old when the incident happened which caused her brain injury.

She said: “I couldn’t articulate what had happened.

“I don’t remember the next few months.”

Megan Mackenzie keeps a memo for every friend or family member in her notes app on her phone. Megan Mackenzie / SWNS

Her parents took her to the hospital the following day – as initially no one realized the damage the fall had done.

She was told she had a mild concussion but, after her symptoms continued, she was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.

Over the years Megan has had various therapies to relearn to read and talk.

After the injury, Megan Mackenzie said she couldn’t quite articulate what actually happened. Megan Mackenzie / SWNS

She said: “I loved reading. Now I read by speed reading.

“I can read an entire book in three hours.

“I get to redo the Harry Potter series as an adult with a fresh brain.”

Megan started making a habit of writing things down after she realized she was repeating stories to her friends.

She said: “That’s how I started using my notes app to keep track of things.

“I love bullet points. I title the notes app for that person.

“I write down their birthday, places they go, names of dogs.

“It’s random life bits that were important when I wrote them down.

“Everyone wants to see their notes but I never let them see it.”

Her boyfriend, Andrew, 24, a masters student in computer engineering, is very supportive of Megan.

She said: “He is lovely and wonderful. He finds it charming when I tell him my stories for the 800th time.

“When I’m retelling stories I’ll look at him like ‘what happened next?’ and he’ll jump in.”

After Megan’s brain injury she was told it wouldn’t be “an option” to memorize lines.

Now she’s worked out a way to do it – by using movement.

She said: “If I’m learning lines I will touch my head or something.

“Through movement I’m able to lock in these words.”

Megan shares her story online – to help share the “quirks” of a brain injury.

She said: “It doesn’t keep me from doing anything. I found a new normal.”

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