June is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and the East Kootenay Brain Injury Association (EKBIA) is spreading the word about safety and teaching the facts about brain injuries.
EKBIA provides survivors of head injuries and their families with one-on-one support and group support. Co-ordinators travel to outlying areas in the community as well, since some clients may have isolation issues.
Debbie Gudjonson, EKBIA co-ordinator from Golden to Cranbrook, was present at AG Valley Foods, along with other co-ordinators and volunteers, on June 4 to promote awareness for the special month and hold a draw to raise funds for the program for the Columbia Valley. Funds raised can be used for anything from ice-picks to help clients walk through snow in the winter, bath bars for showers and tubs, other safety issue upgrades, and paying for bus passes or other transportation to help clients and families attend medical appointments.
The draw prize was a basket with safety and head injury awareness and information pamphlets, a helmet, first-aid supplies and other recreational paraphernalia. The basket was won by Kathy McNeil.
The tables were decorated with drawings done by Eileen Madson Primary students, illustrating various activities where it is best to wear a helmet. The selected posters will be laminated with the EKBIA logo and sent to clinics, schools and hospitals throughout the Columbia Valley.
“What we want people to understand is that brain injury is NOT a mental illness,” said Gudjonson. “It is something that happens after someone is born. Sometimes communities don’t realize it’s such a big span, from banging your head, to strokes, concussions, seizures, car accidents, or work safety accidents. It’s everywhere, and it can effect everyone.”
Gudjonson went on to say that one of the frequent comments she receives from those affected with brain injury, or those who know or care for someone with brain injury, is that the injury can’t be seen.
EKBIA will also be having a barbecue at the Invermere Home Hardware on July 23.
For more information about EKBIA and Brain Injury Awareness Month, visit www.ekbia.org