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BrainLove Launch!

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   January 27, 2014 10:27

The BrainLove Campaign is a partnership between the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association and the Saskatchewan Royal Purple Association to raise awareness about brain injuries, encourage brain health, and raise funds for ongoing education and prevention programs, as well as support for brain injury survivors and their families.

For Brain Awareness Month in March, we will be collecting donations at your local businesses - a $1 donation can be added to your bill and in return you will receive a BrainLove sticker!


You will be able to donate $1 at participating businesses beginning March 3, 2014. 



Wyoming Bill to Assist Brain Injury Survivor

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   December 28, 2011 12:30

A Wyoming program that helps the disabled has a long waiting list, but a state bill to be introduced next year could help.

The Star-Tribune reports that a bill to be introduced during the upcoming legislative session would provide $28 million in state and federal funding for Wyoming's Home and Community Based Waiver Program (

The waiver program provides services for people with disabilities. More than 450 people in Wyoming are waiting for adult, child or brain-injury waivers.

The waiting list includes people like 27-year-old Melissa Dixon, who was born with fetal alcohol syndrome. She's unable to leave home because she has poor motor skills, but she craves independence.

"It makes her feel like she's still a little kid," said D.J. Dixon, her adoptive mother. "And she'd prefer to be around people who have more in common with her."

If the Dixons could get a waiver, the money could pay for an assistant who helps her with social skills and job training. Melissa's been on the waiting list for a year and a half.

"It's not that we want money or anything like that," D.J. Dixon said. "We just want her to have services so she would be able to feel good about herself."

Wyoming established the waivers to help people with developmental disabilities remain in their communities, rather than be institutionalized. The state's adult and child disabilities programs began in the early 1990s and now provide services for more than 2,000 people. Another 170 adults receive assistance through the acquired brain injury program, which began in 2001.

Wyoming expects to spend about $214 million on the waivers over the next two fiscal years, with about half the cost paid with federal dollars.

The funding isn't enough to meet existing demand for the waivers. As of the end of November, 184 disabled adults, 199 disabled children and 72 people with acquired brain injuries were on waiting lists. Disabled adults spend an average of more than two years on the list; children and people with brain injuries each typically wait more than a year.

"They only have a set amount of money," said Rep. Keith Gingery, R-Jackson, who presented the bill to a legislative committee earlier this month. "Until someone goes off the program, they can't let someone else on."

The bill would provide funding to cut assistance gap times to six months for adults and children and one month for people with brain injuries. It would also require the governor to inform lawmakers whenever those times exceed the guidelines.

Gov. Matt Mead has offered his own funding proposal. He has recommended the state spend $12.5 million, rather than $14 million, to shrink the waiver waiting lists. His budget would eliminate brain injury assistance gap times, but would cut adult and child waits to a year, rather than six months, spokesman Renny MacKay said.

The exact funding details can be worked out, Gingery said. But the waiting list issue should be addressed, even amid a time of budget tightening.

"No one with a child should have to wait two or three years to get services," Gingery said. "For these adults who want to be independent, we should be doing everything we can to help them be independent."

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Running for Brain Injury

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   October 16, 2011 18:02

The journey of a thousand miles began with a man on a mission and one foot in front of the other.   

David McGuire has hit the ground running in the Run to Remember fundraising campaign. The B.C. native has joined forces with non-profit organization BrainTrust Canada to raise money and awareness for prevention strategies and to develop supports for Canadians living with brain injury.

“This is probably our biggest awareness and fundraising campaign that we’ve taken on, in a national sense,” said Melissa Wild, run manager with BrainTrust Canada. “Brain injury needs to be more in the public eye and there needs to be better funding.”

While donations are being pledged daily, Wild said proceeds raised are upwards of $60,000.

“The public awareness and public response has been really great. They’re really picking up on it.”

According to BrainTrust Canada 483 people per day suffer a brain injury. It is the leading cause of death and disability in those under 45.

McGuire says inspiration for the cross-country run came from his own brain injury sustained in 2005.

Brain injury survivor David McGuire is running across Canada to raise awareness and funds for brain injury prevention and support. McGuire, 38, departed St. John’s, Newfoundland on April 1 and hopes to reach his destination, Victoria, B.C., by December. Photo by Andrea Nicholl

“I went to our local brain association and they had closed down. I walked home literally crying because there were a lot of people who were much more disabled than I was and I just wanted to do anything I could to help.”

It is unclear whether McGuire suffered a stroke, brain bleed or hit to the head, but after seven days of unconsciousness he awoke to a hospital room, a body full of tubes and the absence of memory.

McGuire was told by medical professionals that he may never be able to walk again, but soon after began running to speed his recovery. In 2006, one year after his brain injury, McGuire completed his first marathon.

While the 38-year-old has been rehabilitated, his short term memory has never been restored. The Run to Remember campaign name holds special significance and reflects the memory problems and challenges that affect those faced with brain injury. 

McGuire struggles with remembering simple tasks such as putting on his shoes, setting his training watch or finding his way home.

“If I don’t shave my head, you don’t see the scar down the side of my head and you just think I’m a weird guy that walked into your store and can’t remember what he’s there for.”

McGuire began his Trans-Canada journey in St. John’s, Newfoundland on April 1. Seven months into the run, he says he hopes to reach his final destination, Victoria, B.C., by the end of December. With cooperative weather and flat lands, McGuire says the Saskatchewan leg of his journey has been an “extraordinary” one. 

“I totally love it. Being out here- it’s stunning. I’ve never been here before and I’m blown away. It’s really beautiful out here.”

For more information, or to make a donation, visit or text “brain” to 45678 to contribute $5 to the campaign.


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News | Support the Cause

Providing Support to Elderly Caregivers

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   September 29, 2011 23:36

The Comox Valley Head Injury Society (CVHIS) has a new community resource for seniors who provide care to brain injury survivors in the Comox Valley.

Funded with support from United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island, the Seniors Caregiving Counselling Program offers free clinical counselling for seniors who provide care to brain injury and stroke survivors.

CVHIS developed this program to support the needs of the many senior caregivers in our community whose mental health and well-being has been impacted by the challenging experience of providing care to brain injury survivors. This program is particularly suited to senior caregivers experiencing depression, anxiety, stress, fatigue, anger, grief and social isolation.

The primary intended outcome of this program is to promote the mental health and well-being of seniors caregiving for brain injury survivors by offering a free counselling resource tailored to their specific caregiver needs.

• The participant must be a resident of the Comox Valley.

• The family caregiver must provide care to a brain injury survivor (includes stroke).

• The family caregiver or brain injury survivor must be 65 or older.

Individuals interested in further information can call the Comox Valley Head Injury Society at 250- 334-9225 or e-mail

“Depression is one of the most common mental health problems affecting seniors today and is especially prevalent among senior caregivers," says Jeremy Coombs, executive director of the Comox Valley Head Injury Society. "Unfortunately, many seniors caring for brain injury survivors are not getting the help they need. The Senior Caregivers Counselling Program is an attempt to provide resource to support the well-being of seniors caring for brain injury survivors.”


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An Organization near Ottawa is Working Towards Building Homes for Brain Injury Survivors

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   September 29, 2011 23:31


An organization supporting individuals with acquired brain injury is in the process of developing a group home in Kanata south.

Pathways to Independence is fundraising to build a home for people who need guidance and care after suffering significant brain trauma.

“Some people who have suffered and acquired brain injuries lose living skills,” said Sandy Jenkyns, manager of support services for the Ottawa-area Pathways to Independence. “I would like people to understand that the folks that we support were active, employed, family-oriented, people who are very active in their communities. They were you and I until they had their acquired brain injury from whatever cause.”

Acquired brain injuries can result from a range of reasons, including brain aneurisms, lack of oxygen due to a medical situation such as a heart attack and strokes, and vehicle accidents.

The not-for-profit is looking to raise around $250,000 to help build an eight-bedroom house for people who can no longer care for themselves.

The organization held the ninth annual Pathways Golf Classic on Sept. 15 to help raise money and will be holding other fundraisers in the future, said Jenkyns.

The house will be built on a vacant lot on Bachman Terrace in Katimavik, said Jenkyns, adding she’s met the neighbours in the area and has their support.

“They were very positive. A couple of them have offered to be volunteers down the road,” she said. “I’ve found them to be remarkable people; we’ve had great reception.”

No design plans have been made to date, but Jenkyns said the organization hopes to have them finalized by the end of the month.

She said they are moving residents out of the current group home in Osgoode to the one that will be built in Kanata. The current home is an older, multi-level residence that doesn’t suit the needs of those living there, she said.

“We want to relocate the people into the community where there's lots to do and they're closer to their family members,” said Jenkyns. “A huge part of our philosophy is to give people the opportunity to be in the community of their own choice and to be involved in activities of their own choice.

“We’re really committed to a home atmosphere.”

Six residents live in the current home but Jenkyns said she’s hoping to add two more people in the new house.

“The Ministry of Health tends to place people in long-term care facilities regardless of their age. Our philosophy, if we had unlimited funds, would be to create a home for these people, similar to what they had built before,” she said. “Our hope is always we’ll help people maximize their independence.”

Pathways to Independence also offers residential options to people with developmental disabilities. The not-for-profit supports independent living, an outreach service for people with acquired brain injury and a day program.



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