Monthly Archives

April 2016

Thank you, Cristy!

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BIND Member David had the opportunity to learn more about Cristy Russum.  Cristy, we are so happy to have you as a volunteer for BIND!  With gratitude for all you do!

  1. What 3 things would you take to a deserted island?

Husband, Wine, & Hammock

  1. What’s your day job? Business?

Realtor. Work when customers need her. She is a listing agent & Showing agent for RenoGroup Realty.

  1. How did you get involved w/ BIND?

Saw an article in Plano Profile.  Her son was hit by car and had a TBI, 4 years ago. He has had great improvement will graduate from the Univ. of Colorado next year.  He inspires me everyday.

  1. How do you picture your life in 5 years?

Celebrating two boys graduating from college, and, traveling.

  1. What does volunteering do for you? Why do you volunteer?

Give back to others. Get a since of fulfillment. Help others in some small way.

  1. What’s your passion?

Several! Work, volunteerism, wine.


2015: Impact Report

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“BIND needs the stories of its members told.  Today is not the time for the silent treatment.  These stories of stroke, traumatic brain injury, infection, and brain tumor removal are sad, but also show remarkable strength.  The feats that our members have conquered are inspiring.  Their progress, compassion and determination, strengthened by becoming a BIND member, must be…..”

Click here to keep reading:

2015 Impact Report PDF

~Valerie Gotcher, Executive Director

We Asked Cheri: Why volunteer for BIND?

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BIND Member, Gay, had the chance to ask Cheri about her experience volunteering for BIND.  Cheri has been dedicated to the BIND mission since our founding in 2012, and here, she explains why:


~GAY, BIND Member

Hello, Christine: BIND Volunteer

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Carrie had the chance to interview Christine, a new volunteer at BIND.  She is married with 2 boys and all the men in life will watch any sporting event televised.

  1. What is your Day Job?
  • Therapy Assistant with ManeGait Therapeutic Horsemanship

What is ManeGait? helps children and adults with disabilities move beyond their boundaries through the healing power of the horse and the dedication of a professional, caring community.

Therapeutic Riding is skill-based equestrian instruction for children and adults with disabilities. The focus of these lessons is skill development and progression while improving the rider’s physical, cognitive, emotional and/or social skills.

They also offer a brain building workshop that focuses on brain-building activities on individuals with physical, cognitive, sensory, and behavioral disabilities.

  1. How did you hear about BIND and why did you choose to get involved with BIND?
    1. Internet search looking for resources to help her work towards helping her goals as a therapist. After she read about us and started to get involved as she wants to work with people in our population. She also would like to see collaboration with BIND and ManeGait as she feels we could benefit from each other.
  2. What 3 things would you take on a deserted island?
    1. Music
    2. Books
    3. Her dog Millie, a German shorthair pointer

Hello, Kristin! #NationalVolunteerWeek

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We have a lot of members that we do not see on a daily basis or actually rarely see at all but that does not take away from the support they provide to us, even on a daily basis whether we are aware of it or not.

One of those volunteers is Board Member Kristen W. As a board member BIND is always on their mind regardless of what they are doing. Keeping an eye out for ideas that can help grow our organization and/or benefit our Members.

Here’s a little of what I learned about Kristen after our interview. She is a Neuropsychology student at UT Southwestern and has two and half years remaining to receive her PHD. She is a Stars fan who tries to attend about 5-10 games a season (maybe I’ll have to take her with me next season for a couple of games) and Tyler Seguin is her favorite player. Fun Fact: She was first introduced to the Stars through UT Southwestern. “For the past couple years I have assisted to provide the baseline concussion evaluations all NHL players receive pre-season.” (Pretty cool, huh?!)

How and why she chose to volunteer with BIND: Based on her educational aspirations and field of interest she was looking to get involved with an organization that matched up with her future life goals. And through the wonders of social media she found out about BIND and our need for a new board member. She contacted Valerie and as they say… the rest is history. As for the why, again it fits in with her interests and she feels that BIND is a great cause to support.

As for her future, she will be a Neuropsychologist helping those with Brain Injuries and other neuro disorders. As far as where that might be, that’s a tougher one to answer, she may stay here in Texas or possibly return to the East Coast.

Fun questions:

Question: Do you have any pets?

Answer: No, but I have 2 awesome roommates, one of which fosters kittens so I get some fur- baby love

Question: What three things would you take on a deserted island?

Answer: 1. Music (either a radio or MP3 player) 2. Water 3. A hammock (for relaxing while waiting to be rescued)

Question: What do you do for fun?

Answer: Enjoys the outdoors and traveling. Also signing but not professional but anywhere she can, especially Karaoke.

~Carrie, BIND Member

Hello, Silvana! #NationalVolunteerWeek

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BIND Member Kevin had the chance to talk with Silvana about her volunteer experience.  Silvana is a traumatic brain injury survivor, artist, cyclist, nature enthusiast, business owner, and a great friend to BIND.  Be sure to check out her company,  Bicibits, here:

Question: What 3 things would you take to a deserted island?

Answer: A great book that I could reread often maybe use to write in and maybe burn if I needed to for rescue smoke or fire starter.  Music, and perhaps a big knife for all sorts of handy reasons.

Question: How did you become a BIND volunteer?

Answer: I got involved with BIND because Valerie G came to a TBI support group meeting I attended, and even though I don’t recall much of it she left an impression on me. Later we communicated on something and eventually I wanted to be a part of the BIND community and help in any way I could, and also belong to a group of nice folks in similar situations as me.

Question: What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

Answer: I don’t have a clue what life will look like in 5 years for me. I hope to have a place of my own in a nice quiet place surrounded by nature and maybe a little art studio, near some friends.

Question: Why do you volunteer for BIND?

Answer: Volunteering gives me a purpose and sense of belonging, and the ability to contribute to my community that has been missing since my TBI took away my ability to teach school. (and everything that came with it).  It also teaches me new things about life, others and myself.

Thank you, Silvana and Kevin!

Hello, Susan! #NationalVolunteerWeek

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Volunteers at BIND are such special people. They are truly indispensable and we want them to know how thankful we are for them. They are heroes in championing our mission and supporting our cause. They help make a difference in the lives of BIND Members.

This month (April) is Volunteer Appreciation Month and it was a pleasure for me to have had the opportunity to interview one of the dedicated BIND volunteers. I wanted to know more about her; like, what brought her to BIND.

Her name is Susan and I am honored to share some of what I learned about her with you.

Question:          Which celebrity do you get mistaken for?

Susan:                  “Well, it doesn’t happen as much as it should but, I’m a dead ringer for Dr. Ruth.”

Question:         Are you a morning person?

Susan:                  “Not really, but I can function with the best of them if necessary.”

Question:         Do you have any hobbies?  If so, what’s your favorite?

Susan:                  “Yes….I’m truly a big hobbyist.   I love them all. I crochet, play hand-bells, do Words with Friends (WWF) and I’m an avid reader.”

Question:         What 3 things you would take to a deserted island?

Susan:                  “Bible, food and water.”

Question:         If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

Susan:                  “Sign language. Mostly, so I could sign songs in Church.”

Question:         How did you get involved with BIND?

Susan:                  “Carrie, my daughter, had a stroke. My husband and I became very involved with her caregiving. Since I was Carrie’s limo driver, I became involved with the initial BIND planning and brainstorming gatherings that Carrie was attending.”

Question:         What does volunteering do for you or why do you choose to volunteer for BIND?

Susan:                  “It fills a sense of purpose and giving back. And, of course, the personal connection with Carrie and the other members that I’ve come to know and appreciate.”

Question:         What’s your favorite color?

Susan:                  “Green. It’s Baylor’s and Stars’ color, trees, grass and nature.”

Question:         What kind of music do you like (rock, classical or whatever) and what’s your favorite song?

Susan:                  “Old Fashion Rock N’ Roll, Classical and Hymns. My favorite, I have too many favorites to choose from….like Heartbreak Hotel and Peace Like a River are just a few songs that would stand out on my list.”

Question:         If you could have any car you wanted, what would you pick?

Susan:                  “A turquoise Thunderbird.”

Question:         If you could meet anyone, living or dead, whom would you meet?

Susan:                  “Elvis or Simon Peter.”

Question:          If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Susan:                  “I’d probably faint…then, scream, and buy a new house and then the turquoise T-bird.”

Question:         What’s your favorite movie?

Susan:                   “Another tough one but I’m gonna go with Gone With the Wind

Question:         What’s your favorite fruit?

Susan:                  “Strawberries.”

Question:          How tall are you, really?

Susan:                  “On a good day, I’m 4’7”.

My Comment: Although Susan is on the petite side (and didn’t get mad when I teased her about it), I especially want her to know, and it may only be figuratively but, I believe on her best days, she stands awesomely tall to me as a BIND volunteer!

I know there is so much more to learn about this wonderful woman and thank her with all my heart for sharing what she has and for doing what she does as a volunteer at BIND.

~Barbara, BIND Member

Alice Petranek: Why Now?

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Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 10.19.28 PMWhy now?

Have you ever heard someone say “There is a time and place for everything?” This concept of timing also applies to Rehab. Stroke and Brain injury can rob individuals of their most basic functions: rolling over in bed, sitting up, eating, dressing, bathing, walking and driving a car. It is the role of Occupational Therapy (OT) to facilitate independence with life’s most basic skills. There is no task too small or too big for OT to tackle . . . Or is there?

There is a mindset that can sometimes creep in during Rehab, which will hold some survivors back from reaching their full potential for independence. This mindset sounds something like this: “If I learn to do it with one hand, then I am giving up hope that my arm will comeback . . . So I will wait until I can do it the ’normal’ way. This mentality can find its way into more impactful life skills, such as driving or returning to work. The task of debunking this myth-this way of thinking, is one the biggest challenges for Occupational Therapy. It poses the biggest obstacle to goal achievement I have ever experienced in 20 years of practice.

The devastation of physical impairments on self-esteem is brutal. Arms and legs that no longer move at will, in effortless and seamless timing, is a reality that can be too great to accept. Rehab quickly focuses on trying to urge limbs down the recovery path. Days, weeks and months are spent trying to enable and facilitate movement. It is at this time where this mindset usually creeps in. For some, learning a one-handed technique to tie shoes, put on socks, or bathe, is simply asking them to give up hope. No amount of cajoling or encouragement could convince them that spending a few minutes of their therapy session practicing how to tie a one handed knot or learning the art of “compensation” to accomplish almost ANY two handed task in a one handed way, will work.

So we wait. Wait for acceptance that life will need to continue with or without full arm/leg recovery. How long will this take? Precious time ticks away. Experience tells us that the sooner someone becomes independent with basic life skills, the greater their chances of regaining life roles in the home and in the community are. So we wait-we wait for acceptance. Accepting that life will continue with or without your limb is a harsh reality, but once that acceptance has occurred-that is when the real healing will begin. Occupational Therapy has transformed lives of individuals who have understood that accepting this does not mean giving up hope. Success does not always mean you get 100% of your former self back; it means you succeed in spite of your obstacles and limitations.

Reach out to your occupational therapist. Let him or her know you are ready to take the world by storm-one simple task at a time! Why now? BECAUSE YOU CAN!

~Alice Petranek, OTR, CBIS