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Press Release: BIND Us Together

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August 2, 2019– BIND: Brain Injury Network of Dallas, a 501c3 nonprofit corporation based in Plano, Texas, is excited to announce the publication of “BIND Us Together: Restoring Purpose, Fueling Hope, and Connecting Brain Injury Survivors to the Community.”   

About the Book– More than 30 members of the BIND program – survivors of stroke, traumatic brain injury and brain cancer – came together and wrote about the most challenging times of their lives. This book contains incredibly deep stories of perseverance and immeasurable strength. Each member has relived some of their worst days in order to reclaim power of their situation. The ultimate goal of publication is to help others understand the needs of people who have survived a brain injury, and in some way return the purpose and connection BIND members have found by joining this dynamic program. The book is available on Amazon for the Kindle and paperback. All proceeds will be donated directly to supporting BIND program expenses. 

Inspired By– Without the drive and organizational leadership of BIND member Jenny T. and editing provided by BIND member Taylor S., “BIND Us Together” would not be possible. Further, the publication of the book was a team effort between more than 30 program members and BIND volunteers like traumatic brain injury survivor and author Donna Valentino, plus photography provided by stroke survivor and long-time BIND volunteer Dean Stone (Spectaveris Inc, owner/operator). Further, the book was created in honor of one of the program’s founding members, James “Jim” Goodman, “without him we may have never found each other.” Before his passing in early 2019, Jim contributed the first story in “BIND Us Together,” titled “Heart attacks, strokes, and cancer….whatever.” The forward was contributed by BIND Founder and Executive Director Valerie Gotcher and acknowledgements were written by Jenny T. The book was also inspired by participation in the Unmasking Brain Injury project, a profound and therapeutic mask-making activity aimed at increasing public awareness and advocacy for brain injury survivors across the globe.  

About BIND– The Brain Injury Network of Dallas is a community center for people living with the effects of an acquired brain injury. BIND operates the first and only Brain Injury Clubhouse in the state of Texas, which is its primary tool used to serve survivors. At BIND, staff and program participants, called Members, work together to run all aspects of the program. The BIND Mission is to provide tools and a bridge of support to adult survivors of acquired brain injury so they can reconnect to work, life and the community. BIND is a proud member of IBICA: International Brain Injury Clubhouse Alliance.  

To qualify for Membership– Members must be 18 years of age or older, have a documented acquired brain injury, be independent with self-care and use assistive devices independently, be willing to participate in a working community, not be a threat to self or others, and, have transportation to/from BIND in Plano, Texas.    

Depression After Brain Injury

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Written By: Chris B

My stroke occurred in February 2015, unplanned obviously, and very much unwelcomed. Many of my challenges have been summarily defeated/overcome. I have defeated most of my paralysis; I can now use my effected side and jettisoned the cane; speech is very good, but the one ailment that is ever-present for many, regardless of the type of brain injury, is depression.

Part of the unavoidable growth/challenges forced upon many stroke and TBI survivors is the psychological impact of life change as well as overall brain chemistry change due to injury.

Not everyone becomes depressed, but, a sobering half of all people with TBI are effected by depression within the first year after injury. Even more (nearly two-thirds) are effected within seven years after injury. That’s right– it can increase over time.

According to The Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center, in the general population, the rate of depression is much lower, affecting less than one person in 10 over a one-year period.  

More than half of the people with TBI who are depressed also have significant anxiety.

In the big picture, everyone can imagine reminiscing about past life events, not different than an athlete realizing they can’t compete at the same level.

Getting over an ended relationship is never fun – the parallels are similar. As with all of these analogies, visiting the past is better than living in it.

Easier said than done, but, listen to your wellness team, family, church, neighbors, and get help if you or others notice behavior changes or overall withdrawal from society. It’s a very common reaction post brain injury to want to cocoon and remove yourself from interaction, but, staying active and finding friends/purpose/goals can help a lot.

The bottom line, GET HELP, be it, discussion, physician-prescribed medication, counseling, finding a hobby – all have been proven to work and it will be a forward step on your path to a better future.

Fortunately, I’m mobile and can drive, so I was able to increase my social circle by joining a gym and volunteering at a farm museum.

I had the fun effect of crying for no reason (commercials, speeches, church hymns…); medication worked for me without impacting my personality.

Keeping busy is an often-prescribed cure for mood change, which can be difficult as the drive/inertia is often low post brain injury. Group activities and a standard schedule can help with accountability for activities.

BIND is a place where members can find people with similar situations and thoughts from various backgrounds, and the environment can fill the void of lost friendships/coworkers and exposes many to the successes of the recovery journey.

The group activities and responsibilities we undertake help with one’s self-esteem and purpose.

I’d strongly encourage someone who has suffered an acquired brain injury to check out BIND or any local stroke/TBI support group.

Members Celebrate Our Volunteers

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Volunteers at BIND are such special people. Last year, alone, we were gifted with 2,880 volunteer hours, the equivalent of a full time employee working 40 hours a week.  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. BIND Volunteers help to make a difference in the lives of BIND Members.

This month (April) is Volunteer Appreciation Month, and it was a pleasure for us to have had the opportunity to interview just a few of our 100 dedicated BIND volunteers. 

~BIND Members

Beth

How would your friends describe you in 3 words? Honest; Strong; Quiet

If you had a warning label, what would it say? Must love cats!

Favorite band?

  • Atticus Ross

Songs by mood?

  • Road trip: Anything classical or Tom Petty
  • Cleaning House: Imagine Dragons mix
  • Workout: N/A I don’t work out

Where did you go to school? University of Dallas-B.A. English Language/Lit;

                    U.T.A-class of 2020-M.S.W. (Masters of social work)

Where did you grow up? Minnesota

Siblings? 4 brothers

Married? Widowed 2014

Children? Daughter passed 2014

Pets? Cat: Gizmo

Where else have you worked? Senior care- 4.5 years

                    Corporate- 19 years

What was your favorite thing about your last job? Relationship with clients/ caregivers

Include a meaningful quote: “It’s only when you have lost everything that you are free to do anything”

                    “Trees grow through rock”

                    “We all have the same 24 hours in a day …How will you use yours?”

Neeru

How would your friends describe you 3 words? loyal; fun; adventurous

If you had a warning label, what would it say? Speaks her mind!

Favorite band? INXS

Songs by mood?

  • Happy: “That thing” -Lauryn Hill
  • Sad: “In My Life” – Beatles

Where did you go to school? Syracuse UN.

Where did you grow up? Canada

Siblings? 2

Married? Yes

Children? 1 son

Pets? None

Where else have you worked? Hospital

What was your favorite thing about your last job? Case load

Include a meaningful quote:“The end justifies the means.”

Bailey

How would your friends describe you 3 words? Fun; Energetic; Social

If you had a warning label, what would it say? She is a cheerleader!!!!!

Favorite band?

  • Koe Whetzel or Parker McCullum

Songs by mood?

  • Road trip: country
  • Cleaning House: classical
  • Workout: pop

Where did you go to school?Mansfield Legacy; currently: U.N.T.

Where did you grow up? Rendon, TX.

Siblings? 1 Sister; 2 Brothers

Married? No

Children? No

Pets? Pomeranian: Honey Almond Mae

Where else have you worked? On the U.N.T. campus – Student Affairs

What was your favorite thing about your last job?

I love being able to help people, especially cheerleaders, learn new skills, as well as lifelong skills that will push them further in life. Being able to see people learn and grow is a passion of mine. I love being a part of their journey and making an impact.

Include a meaningful quote: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Judy

How would your friends describe you 3 words? gregarious, fearless, adventurous

If you had a warning label, what would it say?  Loud (but not in a bad way)

Favorite band?

  •  Beatles, Sting, Ramones, Stones…

Songs by mood?

  • Road trip: CCR
  • Cleaning House: Aretha Franklin
  • Workout: Eighties music

Where did you go to school? U.T.A.

Where did you grow up? Dallas area

Siblings? Too many

Married? widowed

Children? 2 children and 3 grandchildren

Pets? 2 cats

Where else have you worked? Methodist, Baylor Rehab, various restaurants as a chef.

What was your favorite thing about your last job? The love everybody has for their job and each other

Include a meaningful quote: “My Brain is not working today — I am not synapsing”

We also have 2 new Employees at BIND we would like for you to get to know a little better:

Diana

How would your friends describe you (three words?)

Bossy, organized, and shopper extraordinaire.

If you had a WARNING Label, it would say: Warning! My speed may cause blurred vision.

Favorite Band: U2

Songs by Mood:

Road Trip: “Mad World” – Gary Jules

Cleaning House: “Another One Bites the Dust” – Queen

Workout: “Till I Collapse” – Eminem

Where did you go to school? Texas Tech Health Sciences Center

Where did you grow up? Lubbock, Texas

Siblings? 2; I’m the oldest; One brother; One sister

Married? Yes

Children? One son

Pets? Rey (like the Jedi)

Where else have you worked? Various rehab settings at all levels of care.

What was your favorite thing about your last job? Everything except the documentation, but especially my brain injury patients who come in every shape, size and all have stories that inspire me.

Include a meaningful quote: “Sometimes the greatest thing to come out of your hard work isn’t what you GET FOR it, but what you BECOME for it.”- Dr. Steve Maraboli

But my words to live by: Life is short… buy the shoes.

Jasmine

How would your friends describe you (three words): Bright, feisty, and spunky!

If you had a warning label, what would it say? “Contents under pressure. Do not shake!”

Favorite Band? Wild Child                                                                   

Songs by Mood:

Road Trip: “Welcome Home, Son” -Radical face

Cleaning house: Spanish music

Workout: “Power”-Kanye West

Sad: “Present Tense” – Radiohead

Where did you go to school? University of North Texas

Where did you grow up? Illinois

Siblings? 2 brothers; 1 sister; I am the oldest

Married? Nope!

Children? Never

Pets? Hopefully soon

Where else have you worked? Starbucks; Camp Summit; the U.N.T. Kirstin Ferrer Autism Center

What was your favorite thing about your last job? Wearing scrubs everyday

Include a meaningful quote: “ ‘Stay angry, little Meg,’ Mrs. Whatsit whispered. ‘you will need all of your anger now.’’’ – A Wrinkle in Time

Save The Date!

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We’re thrilled to announce the Masquerade Gala is set for Saturday, October 26 at The Clubs at Prestonwood in Dallas. Sponsorship opportunities start at $500 – contact us to learn more.

Star Local Media: Brain Injury Exhibit Goes Beyond the Mask

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“About 400 people suffer a brain injury in Texas each day. About 12 years ago, Karl Heller was involved in a nearly fatal car accident that left him with paralysis, global aphasia and severe injury to the left side of his brain.

“People think a brain injury is something permanent and you’re not going to get better,” Heller said. “I thought that before I had one. Now, I realize the first day is the worst day and everything goes uphill from there.”

Click Here to Continue Reading

Plano Magazine: Putting The Missing Pieces Back

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“Monthly support groups have always been a mainstay for overcoming odds and finding solidarity with a community of people who can relate to your life challenges. But for Valerie Gotcher, that simply was not enough when it came to the brain injury survivors’ support group she facilitated for many years while working as a speech therapist. Something felt missing.”

Click Here to Continue Reading

Remembering Jim

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Pictured L to R: Valerie Gotcher, Jeannette Goodman, Jim Goodman

How lucky we have all been to have something so wonderful that saying goodbye is so hard.

Jim Goodman is the finest example of an advocate, friend, and absolute joy through hardship that our BIND family could have ever dreamed of. Thank you for establishing a culture of acceptance, respect, teamwork and pure fun for this organization – you will be missed.

Click here to read Jim’s obituary.

Press Release

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December 4, 2018 – BIND: Brain Injury Network of Dallas, a 501c3 nonprofit corporation based in Plano, Texas, is excited to announce a grant award of $40,000 from The Meadows Foundation to support costs for the Work Readiness Program.

About the Work Readiness Program – Work Readiness is designed to transition individuals with acquired brain injury (including traumatic brain injury, stroke, or brain cancer) from rehabilitation to the workforce and is based on the concept of “Personal Social Adjustment Training” as described by the Texas Workforce Commission. Members in this program receive group training and vocational assessment in addition to participating in the typical work-ordered day at BIND. Work Readiness covers topics across 10-12 weeks related to growth and success in the workplace.

Each Work Readiness program participant will complete the series with a clear employment plan for the future. This includes fulfillment of a well-rounded skills, interests and strengths inventory that translates to the work setting. Additionally, participants will build physical and cognitive endurance and have the opportunity to identify and practice functional compensatory strategies in a true work environment. By engaging in productive work, BIND Members address appropriate social behaviors and develop skills needed to live and work more independently.

To qualify for Work Readiness: Members must be 18 years of age or older, have a documented acquired brain injury, be independent with self-care and use assistive devices independently, be willing to participate in a working community, not be a threat to self or others, commit to attend the program 2-3 days/week for 10-12 weeks, and, have transportation to/from BIND in Plano, Texas.

About BIND – The Brain Injury Network of Dallas is a community center for people living with the effects of an acquired brain injury. BIND operates the first and only Brain Injury Clubhouse in the state of Texas, which is its primary tool used to serve survivors. At BIND, staff and program participants, called Members, work together to run all aspects of the program. The BIND Mission is to provide tools and a bridge of support to adult survivors of acquired brain injury so they can reconnect to work, life and the community. BIND is a proud member of IBICA: International Brain Injury Clubhouse Alliance.

About The Meadows Foundation – The Meadows Foundation exists to assist people and institutions of Texas improve the quality and circumstances of life for themselves and future generations. The Meadows Foundation strives to exemplify the principles of its founder in addressing basic human needs by working toward the elimination of ignorance, hopelessness and suffering; protecting the environment; providing cultural enrichment; encouraging excellence; and promoting understanding and cooperation among people.

12-4-18 Meadows Fdn Press Release PDF