Hall has personal ties to brain injury. Her son Greg was injured in 1980 and her eldest son died in 1981. Both of her sons suffered brain injuries as a result of car accidents and neither of them were wearing seatbelts. Hall set her sights on brain injury prevention and began working to increase awareness of seatbelts and car safety. Eventually, she got involved in advocating for brain injury services. “I always included prevention – especially after the HITS (Head Injury Trust) Fund – I got it passed at 6 a.m. one day in 1992,” she says. However, the fight wasn’t over. As the economy slumped, money began being taken from the HITS Fund. Hall fought tirelessly to get it back. In 2014, 100 percent of the money from traffic violations and OUIs in the Commonwealth will go into the HITS Fund to benefit brain injury survivors.
Although she has since retired, Hall is still passionate about advocating for brain injury services, survivors and families and has high hopes for the future. “My hope is that it (brain injury) is an accepted disability like mental retardation is, and that congress gets more serious about brain injury services. … Millions of people are out there who need services. Disability needs to be accepted by everyone and by congress, so we can get the recognition and the services for the millions of people who need brain injury services,” she says.
In addition, Hall hopes to see more families getting involved in advocacy work. “Numbers count,” she explains. “In the 1990s, I was able to get 100 family members at a budget hearing. In the last few years I was lucky to get one or two family members. … The legislators got tired of hearing me testify all the time. We need family members to go advocate.”
When asked how she feels about being honored with the Founders Award, Hall says she appreciates being honored by her peers. “I’m sure there are many other people that are just as deserving. I hope the next generation gets just as involved as I did,” she adds.
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