I am a caregiver.
I am also a wife, mother, full-time worker, driver, therapist, neurologist, social worker, advocate, nurse, a shoulder to cry on, a listener, a great hugger, and a cheerleader. My husband George is a brain tumor survivor and is living with a brain injury to his cerebellum. He is also living with the effects of two concussions from falls at home - both as a result of his brain injury. It's been a long six years since my husband's surgery. George can no longer work. He can no longer drive. He lives with struggles - cognitive, neurological, mood, and emotional difficulties. My husband's brain injury turned his world - and our world as a family - upside down. For years, George mourned (and sometimes still does) the life he once had, and so desperately wanted to find his new life "meaning." As his wife, I rode this roller-coaster with him every minute of the day, while trying to maintain the day-to-day family, work, and life responsibilities that I/we faced.
Thanks to his care team at the Massachusetts General Hospital, as well as his local therapist, my husband has made great strides. He became an advocate for the brain injury and brain tumor communities. He has spoken at several BIA-MA events and before legislators at the Massachusetts State House. My husband was the guest speaker of BIA-MA's Cere-bration virtual event in 2020. Both George and I testified before the Massachusetts Brain Injury Commission in 2019 about brain injury services for not just individuals, but also for caregivers and families. In addition to his advocacy, George attends the New Start Brain Injury Center in Worcester and has been active in several of its member-run units. He also created and maintained the New Start community garden. The Center raised more than 1,000 pounds of vegetables for the center and its members to enjoy. He recently was appointed to our town's Open Space Committee - to help do what he can to save land for other's to enjoy.
Being a caregiver of someone who has a brain injury is not an easy job. It's hard, full-time work.There are good days and bad. Easy moments and struggles. People talk about "self-care" and its importance. My self-care is running. As we runners joke, running is "free therapy" (the added bonus is if you run with friends!). With all that said, I feel as though my husband's brain injury is a signal for me - for us - to do "something." I admire my husband's advocacy work and I try to get active when and where I can. I ran the 2019 Falmouth Road Race for Team BIA-MA. I sat on the 2020 Cere-bration Planning Committee. Professionally, I attend Brain Injury Committee meetings for my employer (comprised of service provider agency staff, as well as state agency representatives). Given the cards we have been dealt, George and I are trying to take a negative and turn it into a positive. It is my hope to become more professionally trained in the brain injury field and help bring about change where needed.
I'm running on Team BIA-MA on behalf of my husband, myself as a caregiver, my children, and other families whose lives have been impacted by brain injury. My goal is raise $900 for this organization. Any size donation would be most appreciated! Many thanks in advance!
|Donation date||Donor name||Donation amount|
|Jul 12||Lynn Jordan||$55.35|
|Jun 04||Deb C||$28.10|
|Jun 04||Jen Fafard||$28.10|
|Jun 03||Rob Sampson||$109.85|
|Jun 01||Sue Downey||$28.10|
|May 31||Anonymous||Undisclosed amount|
|May 31||Jill Demers||$22.65|
|May 31||Ginny Van Duyne||$109.85|