Brain injury awareness

June marks Brain Injury Awareness Month – a time when organizations work especially hard to bolster both awareness and funding for programs and research.

As there are many weeks and months throughout the year are designated to a number of illnesses, diseases and conditions, there is a chance that the fact this month being set apart as Brain Injury Awareness Month could be missed by some – but as mentioned, a growing emphasis on awareness is key to prevent that from happening.

To that end, staff, volunteers and clients of the Central Alberta Brain Injury Society (CABIS) hope the public can become better informed about the impacts and complexities of brain injury. The Society has been helping individuals and families deal with the effects of traumatic or acquired brain injury since 1991 – free of charge.

Brain injury can, of course, happen to anyone. And the consequences can range from minimal to absolutely critical and deeply impactful. Everyone emerges from what can amount to weeks to months to years of treatment with different results – there is marked recovery for some, and yet others can struggle to see even minimal changes.

According to the Brain Injury Society of Canada, Brain injury occurs suddenly, without warning. “In an instant life is changed, forever. Everyday we participate in activities that produce endless risks for sustaining a brain injury; events include a car accident while driving to the grocery store, a fall from a bike, or a blow to the head.”

The Society also points out that it is estimated thousands of Canadians incur a traumatic brain injury each year – the majority being young adults. “They will have a normal life expectancy but will require special care. A majority of bicyclists who die each year die of brain injuries. Most of the serious brain injuries can be prevented by wearing a helmet. Brain injury affects a significant number of people each year and the numbers are reaching epidemic proportions.”

Of course, there have been strides in the treatments and therapies for brain injury – but awareness is also where things need to change in today’s societies.

Locally, there are some opportunities to connect with the staff, volunteers and members of CABIS – a picnic runs June 24th at Rotary Park from 5 to 8 p.m.

Club CABIS is a social drop-in session which meets the first and third Thursday afternoon of each month between 1:30-3 p.m. as well. CABIS also operates with no government funding and must rely on donors plus grants and the generosity of the community via fundraisers – these include the annual silent auction set for June 19th-21st at Parkland Mall, plus the Wellness Ride which runs Aug. 15th.These means of giving are just a few ways the public can offer their support to an extremely important cause.