“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.”
We are pleased to honor the life of Verna White, mother to Brian White, our Board of Directors Treasurer. Please accept our sincere gratitude for gifts made to BIND in her memory. May peace be with you all who are mourning her loss.
April 4, 1926 – February 15, 2019
“Verna Irene White, beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt and friend to many, was born April 4, 1926 to Sherman and Isabel Beldin, and died February 15, 2019.
Verna grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, attended Oak Park Academy in Iowa. When her family moved to a farm outside of Glenwood, Iowa she met the love of her life, Clifford Dale White. They married on November 1, 1944. After Cliff discharged from the military, they returned to Iowa but soon moved to Omaha and raised their family, surrounded by a growing extended family and friends.
Verna was always known as a giving person. She welcomed and cared for as her own two children who had lost their mother, handed out clothes through the Dorcas Society, sang in a trio, baked and cooked for the masses.
Verna moved with her family around the Midwest but settled in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1967. Verna began a long career working in a nursing home caring for others in many different capacities, first as a nurses’ aid, then cooking, and finishing her career as the head of housekeeping. When she retired in 1992, she moved to Oklahoma to be near her children. She lived in the community of Summit Ridge for 23 years before moving into the Wolfe Living Center.
Verna loved to travel, seeing many sites around the United States and Europe. She loved collecting things and crafts of all sorts. After moving to Wolfe, she continued crafting by working on inspirational sticker books which she gave to anyone who wanted them.
Above all, Verna’s true happiness came from spending time with her family. Throughout her life, many nieces and nephews lived with her. Family gatherings always meant cooking for many, laughing hysterically, and supporting each other unconditionally.
Verna is preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her sister Gladys White, and Brothers Robert and Clyde. She is survived by her sister Shirley Scott, her daughter Connie Stricker, sons John and Brian, foster children Linda Benjamin and Gerald Scott, six grandchildren, Shawn, Eric, Jenny, Bradley, Jason and Cindy and five great-grandchildren Ali, Cody, Lexi, Zoey, Max and Liam. She also leaves behind a host of extended family and friends.”
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.
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.
Monday begins another school year. The teachers are making their final lesson plans, straightening up their classrooms, printing out their first assignments, etc.… The excitement and stress are in the air. The hustle and bustle are seen everywhere you go. This is my life now. This was my life before my surgery. Life keeps moving forward, but there have been a few changes.
I had a cavernous hemangioma which led to brain surgery in 2014.
What is an ABI- acquired brain injury?
Acquired brain injury is what they call my brain injury. When exactly things started, I don’t know, but I can tell you at least 2 defining moments to that brain injury. The first was the worst headache of my life. Needless to say, there was an overnight stay in the hospital in 2008, and many tests, which only left me with more questions than answers. Then, toward the end of 2013, while at dismissal with my students, I started seeing halos which led to more doctor appointments, more MRIs, and ultimately to brain surgery.
Before surgery, both sides of my body worked in unison; however, surgery left me with aphasia, hemiparesis, and hemisensory loss. It has been 4 years, 2 months, and 2 days since surgery and I still notice the effects of surgery. But I can say that time, in this case, has been my friend.
After surgery, I went to rehab for the summer. It was a struggle and pulled on all my heartstrings – emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual. In my mind, it was happening to me, and me ALONE. How could my family understand? And that is where I was for a long time. I was wrong. It wasn’t happening to just me, it was happening to the whole family.
Recovery takes time, patience, and understanding.
It reminds me of the song, “Put One Foot in Front of the Other”.
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking ‘cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door
If you want to change your direction
If your time of life is at hand
Well don’t be the rule, be the exception
A good way to start is to stand
For those of you going through a brain injury, remember, it isn’t happening to just you. Let your family in. Work together and use a lot of patience and understanding with each other.
~Stacy B. (submitted August 2018)
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So, I asked if I could write this blog. It’s a little “how BIND has helped me, and others move on” and a little “BIND IS doing what it set out to do”. So, with that said first here’s a reminder of our Mission and Vision statements.
- Our mission is to provide tools and a bridge of support to adult brain injury survivors, so they can reconnect into life, the community and the workplace. Our vision is to lead the DFW area in providing member-driven services and will serve as the model for Brain Injury Clubhouses across the state of Texas.
- The objectives of BIND include reducing the severity of depression, increasing return to gainful employment or productive community volunteering in survivors, and improvement of quality of life for those affected by acquired brain injury. BIND empowers members to maximize their strengths while developing strategies to meet personal goals for community reintegration and provides a necessary link in the rehabilitative process that assist one in transitioning from therapy to the community upon discharge. This bridge helps the member maintain and improve abilities obtained through the difficult rehabilitative process.
Hi, I’m Carrie I had my stroke at 38 and was paralyzed on the left side of my body and I assumed that meant the end of me ever working, or much of anything else along with supporting myself again. Well 9 years later I have a part time job which I hope to be able to turn into full time in the future. And I owe all of this to BIND. I was one of the fortunate people to get in on the ground floor from stuffing donation request in Valerie’s living room to spending time in a donated conference room at Accel Rehab (the former Integra where it all began) stuffing our 1st Annual Auction Luncheon invitations.
The doors to BIND opened in 2015, I began my work recovery. I couldn’t wait for that one day a week to see my friends and see where this journey would take us. Then we moved to three days a week and we made lots of new friends. At this point I proclaimed myself the “BOSS” and well if you know me, that’s that. But this empowered me to do more in an office environment (which I came from) and re-enforce a lot of my un-used skills and that’s when I began to wonder… “Can I go back to work?” And with Valerie’s encouragement and support, Whoohoo I have, and nothing can stop me now. And I’m still able to volunteer my time and give back to those that helped me and to help others like me.
And I’m not the only one who has felt that BIND gave them what they needed to either:
- Go back to Work
- Find a way to give back within their own community
- Use what they’ve learn to continue to grow after moving away
Just by being open now 5 days a week and having over 50 active members on a weekly basis, I would say we are meeting our objectives. Not every member’s goal is to go back to work but we all want to feel like we add worth and are needed and BIND gives all of us Brain Injury survivors that feeling of belonging and contributing to society.
Check back soon for more Graduate Stories!
The Goodman Award Recipient for Outstanding Volunteer Service, 2018
Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month
Written By: Augusta O.
September is national awareness month for traumatic brain injuries and I felt absolutely compelled to take on this topic for a number of personal reasons, but one of the most pressing I felt was that it’s somewhat misunderstood. The fact that a person suffering with a traumatic brain injury typically looks just like any other healthy individual, the scope of its affects seem to go unaddressed in some instances. It was very sobering learning many of the statistics of TBI, but also vindicating in confirming many symptoms that I already knew to be true in my life.
With that being said, let’s jump right into it…
What is it?
A traumatic brain injury, commonly known as a TBI, is the result of a blow, bump, jolt, or other head injury that causes damage to the brain.
What are the effects?
Traumatic brain injuries are commonly classified in order of severity as mild or severe.
Mild: A brain injury typically is classified as mild if confusion, disorientation, or loss of consciousness is less than 30 minutes.
- Migraine Headaches
- Difficulty thinking (often referred to as “fogginess” or “haziness”)
- Memory problems
- Decreased Attention
Severe: A severe brain injury is commonly associated with loss of consciousness greater than 30 minutes and/ or a penetrating cranial injury lasting greater than a 24 hour period.
- Loss of cognitive function ranging from high level cognitive function to a comatose state
- Limited upper and lower extremity function
- Abnormal speech
- Severe communication skill deficits
By the numbers
- Deaths resulting from a traumatic brain injury annually: 50,000
- Hospitalizations: 235,000
- Emergency room visits: 1.1 million
- Americans that experience traumatic brain injury annually: 1.4 million
- Americans currently living with traumatic brain injury: 5.3 million
Major causes by percentage
Falls – 28%
Motor vehicle accidents – 20%
Struck by or against an object – 19%
Violence – 11%
Severity of injury
Approximately 75% of traumatic brain injuries seen in the emergency departments are mild cases.
Annually 70,000 people who have a traumatic brain injury experience permanent damage.
For the year 2,000, it was estimated that medical cost and loss of wages due to a traumatic brain injury surpassed $60 billion in the United States.
Although these statistics paint a pretty bleak picture, no mathematics of a disability can ever account for the motivation provided by a devoted spouse, or the outpouring of support from a loving community. I know firsthand the hopelessness, and overwhelming feelings of pain and haze that accompany being a TBI survivor. I too also know the encouragement that is waiting for you in your own personal world, once you make it through the fog.