SHARE YOUR STORY
We want to hear from YOU. How has Brain Injury affected YOUR life? We hope you will share YOUR story.
Written by Tor Freed
This interview is a part of the ongoing series featuring survivors who overcome the difficult time of making connections after their injury. This article is to focus on Jennifer's commitment to thrive and how she went about it.
Jennifer’s first experience with trauma was a motor vehicle accident back in 1994. As a result of that TBI, she had developed epilepsy, six years later. In December 2009 she had another accident, was in a coma for two weeks, and remembers nothing about the next month and a half!
One nice thing I noticed during the interview was the support from her husband. She met him in June of 2010, when she went to a movie by herself and struck up a conversation with a stranger. He supports her no matter what, and how lucky she is!
Jennifer said it took over a year to understand how severe her disability was. The next winter she got depressed and basically didn't get out of bed for two weeks. She understood that she had a choice of creating a schedule of things she really wanted to do or to just stay in bed. She decided to start volunteering to motivate herself.
Now, Jennifer volunteers for Harborview Hospital in the epilepsy department creating an Access database. There she inputs information from other patients into a database, and while it's not terribly sexy, it is important!
She has connected with other people who care about TBI by going to different support groups. She highly recommended that I try to attend the annual Washington TBI conference. This year it took place April 28 and April 29 at the Seattle Airport Marriott Hotel. I asked how I can learn more she said check back on the http://www.tbiwashington.org/ page in the spring of 2015.
Jennifer is easy to talk to and gets very involved in the topic of TBI. First on her list is housing and how to find more money for housing. Another issue Jennifer is passionate about is the Department of Labor and Industries, for us common folk. She mentioned a construction worker who got injured and had no money to pay for the diagnostic testing to prove he has TBI, so he receives no disability benefits. Quite a touching story and it happens a lot more than we realize!
Jennifer wants change within the system. She is hoping her seat as a TBI survivor on the Governor's Washington Traumatic Brain Injury Strategic Partnership Advisory Council can help with this.
Jennifer was very touched by her parents' support. They moved out here from Maine to be with their daughter for six months. Jennifer hopes to become a family care liaison in the near future to help families with this and to further educate them! That is her goal and her dream right now, and I have no doubt that she will reach it!
Your story can make a difference.
Hearing from survivors and family members is an important part of BIAWA. We look forward to hearing from YOU.