“I should not be alive today to tell you my story”

Bryan “BJ” Williams

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My name is Bryan “BJ” Williams and I am a  survivor of a traumatic brain injury and the path my life has taken has been more rewarding than I could have imagined.

At 21 years old my dream to become a professional hockey player came to a halt one hot summer day in 2005.  I was a passenger traveling home with a friend from a long day at work when he lost control of the vehicle and because I was not wearing a seatbelt, on impact I was ejected from the vehicle and landed on the side of the highway. Two days later I woke up in a hospital and was told about the accident.  I had no idea what a brain injury was and now realized my life would not be the same. I began experiencing many emotional and physical changes, I could no longer do the things I love, or every day tasks as simple as tying my shoes without falling over. I sustained five skull fractures and received four skin grafts and my brain will never completely heal. I have frequent migraines and I have never regained my sense of smell, taste and I am deaf in my right ear. It not only changes your hopes and dreams; it changes families’ lives forever.

I felt alone – I thought I was the only one with a brain injury. That’s when I learned about the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts. I immediately felt like part of their family, like I was no longer alone. They gave me hope that I could one day get back to doing the things I love. They not only inspired me, but provided me with the support and resources to help improve my balance, memory and most importantly, they helped me heal!

Thanks to you, the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts has touched the lives of thousands- whether they are facing an urgent need, are looking for support from others facing similar issues or are seeking to improve the quality of life for their family member. Your donation will help the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts fulfill its mission, because our staff has a passion for what they do.  With your support, you help us to help the next survivor – someone like me.

We give survivors like BJ the chance to connect with others as well as an outlet to share his story and journey. Your contribution helps us provide BJ the support he needed after his accident and the ability to help other survivors, caregivers and their families. As our Manager of Prevention, BJ fights to ensure no other children and families have to give up their dreams.

 Every 18.5 seconds someone is admitted to the emergency department with a brain injury. A brain injury can derail your life. The life you envisioned for yourself before your brain injury may not be the life you have after you recover from the immediate trauma.  The Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts provides the prevention, support, education and advocacy needed to assist brain injury survivors and their families navigating through the process of grieving the life they had pre-brain injury and accepting the new reality they face now post-brain injury.

  Our Prevention programs exist to help people make better, more informed choices and raise awareness of TBI in order to prevent fatalities and serious injury on Massachusetts’ roads.

  In this holiday season, we know that you are being asked to give money to many deserving causes. A donation of any size is extremely important, because it provides the resources that make an immediate impact. Your gift of $50, $75, $100, $200 or $500 can make all the difference to our Caregivers, Survivors, Support Group Leaders, Ambassadors and to our support staff- to everyone here who works to serve you. You may also make your gift to BIA-MA to honor a family member, friend or loved one.     In Massachusetts alone, there are 64,000 new brain injuries reported each year and we’re committed to providing the resources you need for your loved ones and every person in your community. Please help make this possible with your contribution.

   With your help, BJ is now able to tell his story and prevent someone else from having to give up their dreams. Your donation will help the next survivor, their family or their caregiver. Your gift will also help us to prevent brain injury, advocate for  increased funding for services, offer resources and raise awareness perhaps for someone you know or love.

Sincerely,

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Nicole M. Godaire Executive Director

P.S.  To see how wisely we have invested your dollars, please   visit our website to view our full 2013 Annual Report. You may mail your gift in the  enclosed envelope or make a secure gift online at:   http://www.biama.org/donate.html

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