Category Archives: Events

Race for BIA-MA – 42nd New Balance Falmouth Road Race

falmouth road image
More than 11,000 runners will gather in Woods Hole for the 42nd New Balance Falmouth Road Race. The 7.1 mile run is regarded by the many runners who participate as a truly special race. The scenic, seaside competition has become a staple in the Cape Cod community and is recognized as one of the best, most enjoyable road races in New England.

The Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts has five non-profit entries for runners who wish to participate and fundraise at this event. Team members must commit to raising a minimum of $1,000.00 by August 25th, 2014. As a member of Team BIA-MA, all runners will receive:

  • Team Dinner on race weekend
  • Team Singlet
  • Personal Fundraising page through BIA-MA’s website
  • Access to running tips and articles
  • Team emails with fundraising ideas and sample letters
  • Any team member who raises over $2,000 will receive a one year Professional Plus BIA-MA membership

To download application please click here

To join Team BIA-MA, please email a completed application by April 14th to tfernandez@biama.org or

Mail or fax completed application to:
BIA-MA
30 Lyman Street, Suite 10
Westborough, MA 01581
Fax: 508-475-0040

26 Miles for Mom

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Jonathan Korhonen will be running the 2014
Boston Marathon to bring awareness to brain injury in support of his mother.

On August 14, 2013 Annette Korhonen had a stroke, fell and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Over the past several months, she has endured time in the ICU and currently is in extended care in rehabilitation. She has battled through four brain surgeries, fought off cranial meningitis and endured a laundry list of procedures and issues as a result of her stroke and fall.

With her family by her side every step of the way, her son, Jonathan, has decided to run the 2014 Boston Marathon in her honor. Jonathan has always been an avid runner and his mother has always been his biggest supporter. He was in the midst of training for a marathon to qualify for Boston when his mom suffered her stroke. In order to run in the qualifier, Jonathan had to make the difficult decision of taking time away from being with his mother during the early stages of her care to run in a race over 8 hours away. He knew that she would want him to continue to pursue his dream of running the Boston Marathon. He qualified for Boston with thoughts of his mom on his mind, and quite literally, on his heart thanks to a specially designed racing jersey with her picture on it.

Jonathan is using this opportunity to run the 2014 Boston Marathon to raise money in support of his Mom as well as a way to raise awareness for the needs of the brain injury community. As he puts it, “It has been made clear that Mom’s recovery will require long-term care with significant and expensive costs that will not be covered by insurance. While I pray for Mom’s ability to recover, I also pray that the expense of care won’t prohibit us from giving Mom the opportunity to get better.” He has set a lofty goal of $50,000 and has committed to donating 50% of all the money he raises directly to the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts. Jonathan and his wife chose BIA-MA in part from a previous professional interaction Jonathan’s wife had with BIA-MA’s Information & Resources Department: The resources provided, whether it was housing options or educational materials, were always helpful, concise, and concrete. The best part was that the direct person she spoke with always followed up with an email a few months later to ensure that the resources were useful and to offer another helping hand if needed. BIA-MA’s robust advocacy efforts and the widespread footprint of their support groups is also one of their best features. “We are confident and happy to say that Mom will benefit from their resources and programs at some point throughout her journey.”

Stay tuned for our Facebook, Twitter and email updates regarding Jonathan’s training and marathon updates.

Southeastern Region Presented 4th Caregiver Conference

DSC_0759BIA-MA’s Southeastern Regional office, along with primary sponsor Boston Medical Center HealthNet presented its 4th Caregiver Conference at the Canal Club of the famed Trowbridge Tavern in Bourne. The conference committee included several caregivers who all contributed greatly to the content and execution of the conference.

Arriving from as far away as Maine, Rhode Island, and western Massachusetts, over 120 caregivers, both family and professionals, enjoyed a day of education, friendship, and great food.

Nicole Godaire, BIA-MA’s Executive Director, welcomed the group and kept the program
running smoothly.

Speakers included representatives from the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, Brain Injury and Statewide Specialized Community Services, MassHealth, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Model Systems, All 4 Healing Wellness and Stress Relief, and Cape Stress Reduction & Optimal Health. Tom Hall provided the group with behavior management techniques while Attorney Juliane Soprano guided the attendees through Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability applications and appeals processes. Marilyn Spivack, founder of the Brain Injury Association of America, stressed the need for advocacy, and BIA-MA’s Information and Resources Senior Manager Myles Marisseau presented an overview of the services that our organization provides.

According to Sandy Topalian, manager of BIA-MA’s Southeastern Region, “many people complimented our team on the high quality of the conference offerings with comments such as: ‘What a great opportunity for all of us who really need every bit of this important information’, ‘All excellent speakers, extremely informative’, and ‘one of the best run conferences we have ever attended. Thank you for providing us with such a wonderful day’, ‘Very rewarding to spend the day with other caregivers who have been there and really ‘get it’. ‘We could vent without feeling guilty’.” Dr. Cathy Stern and Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital were breakfast sponsors and 16 organizations exhibited their offerings to the group. Braintree and New England Rehabilitation Hospitals and Spaulding Rehabilitation Network also supported this important event.

Get ready for BIA-MA’s 4th Caregiver Conference on November 2nd!

The 2010 Caregiver Conference

The Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts is hosting its 4th Caregiver Conference on Saturday November 2nd at The Canal Club, Trowbridge Tavern, 100 Trowbridge Road in Bourne, Mass. Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan is the Headliner sponsor for the event and exhibitors from several organizations will be available with a variety of services geared toward the caregiver.

This conference is the only conference just for caregivers–designed to give support, advice and practical information to caregivers facing the many challenges of meeting the needs of those with brain injury. BIA-MA’s first Caregiver Conference, held on Cape Cod by BIA-MA’s Southeastern Regional office, was the inspiration of Donna Edson, mother of Robert Jordan, a survivor of brain injury who passed away in January 2008. Without the generous donations in Robert Jordan’s memory, the first conference would not have been possible. Since its inception, the conference has more than tripled the number of participants, attracting families and caregivers from across Massachusetts.

From 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., conference attendees will learn about survivor care and services, caregiver care and services as well as managing unwanted behavior. Here is our list of esteemed speakers:

Managing Unwanted Behavior

  • Tom Hall, Associate Division Director for Clinical Services at Riverside Community Care, has worked for more than 25 years with individuals recovering from brain injury. He is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist Trainer (CBIST).

Brain Injury Survivor Care and Services

  • Kenneth J. Smith, Director, Office of Long Term Services and Supports, Executive Office of Elder Affairs and MassHealth, Executive Office of Health and Human Services
  • Myles Marisseau, Information and Resources Senior Operations Manager, Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts
  • Marilyn P. Spivack, Founder, Brain Injury Association of America, parent of a brain injury survivor, and the mother of brain injury advocacy
  • Matt Dorian, Research Fellow, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, TBI Model Systems
  • Juliane Soprano, Attorney, The Law Offices of Juliane Soprano. Juliane specializes in Worker’s Compensation and Social Security Disability Representation. She was named one of Best Lawyers® for the past four years.
  • Robert Ferris, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and the Brain Injury & Statewide Specialized Community Services (formerly SHIP)

Caregiver Care and Services

  • Marie Bantram, Owner, All 4 Healing Wellness Center, Sagamore Beach
  • Adam Liss, Owner, Cape Stress Reduction & Optimal Health, Marstons Mills

Breakfast will be provided from the generous sponsorship of Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital in Worcester. Lunch will also be provided. If you need special accommodations, please submit them no later than October 15th. You can indicate this on the registration form.

If you are a caregiver and you would like to attend the conference, it is $10 for one person, $20 for two people, and $25 for 3 or more (family). Click here to get all the details. If you’ve learned all you need to know and want to register right away, click here and submit your online registration form.  The registration deadline is October 29th. If you are a caregiver for a brain injury survivor, this conference is just for you, and you will finish the day with relaxation and stress relief. Take advantage of a conference designed just for you.

30th Anniversary Celebration: Join Us in Honoring Senator Harriette Chandler

Senator Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester)

Senator Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester)

State Senator Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester) will be honored with the Legislative Advocacy Award for her advocacy work on behalf of brain injury survivors, caregivers and family members at our 30th Anniversary Celebration.

Sen. Chandler says she first got involved with the brain injury community after she was approached by a constituent whose son suffered a brain injury as a result of a fall while living in Colorado. After the individual’s son moved to Massachusetts, he was unable to find any services to help him. Sen. Chandler looked into available brain injury services, and she realized there weren’t any. “My first thought was to get a commission together.” And that she did. The Brain Injury Commission was established in 2011 and it was made up of some “very experienced brain injury advocates” including professors, social workers and survivors themselves, says Sen. Chandler.

The Commission spent about a year touring the state, researching the needs of survivors and families and finding out what services were available. Since then, she has fought tirelessly on behalf of survivors and families. ” The symptoms (brain injury survivors experience) are hidden, but are so very real,” she explains. Now, in 2014, 100 percent of driving violation fees will go to the Head Injury Trust Fund (HITS), to benefit those impacted by brain injury. “As a result, we hope that will go to one of five clubhouses so brain injury survivors can learn skills and socialize” with one another, she says.

Senator Chandler has held several leadership positions during her time in the legislature.  She currently serves as the Senate Assistant Majority Leader and Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Steering and Policy. She is the second woman to serve as the Senate Assistant Majority Leader in Massachusetts history, after former Senator Joan Menard.  Senator Chandler formerly served as the Senate Majority Whip, Assistant Majority Whip, Vice-Chair on the Joint Committee on Public Health, Assistant Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Federal Stimulus Oversight, Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs, and House Chair of the Joint Committee on Healthcare.

When asked how she feels about being honored with the Legislative Advocacy Award, Sen. Chandler says she’s “extremely honored. … This is not something I would ever expect. … This is my job. It’s above and beyond anything I could ever anticipate.”

30th Anniversary Celebration: Join Us In Honoring Marilyn Price Spivack

Marilyn Price Spivack pictured with co-founder and husband Dr. Martin Spivack.

Marilyn Price Spivack pictured with co-founder and husband Dr. Martin Spivack.

Marilyn Price Spivack, who co-founded the National Head Injury Foundation (now the Brain Injury Association of America) with Dr. Martin Spivack and co-founded the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts – will receive the Founder’s Award in honor of her hard work and dedication in the field of brain injury. She has been a Neurotrauma Rehabilitation Outreach Coordinator at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network for more than 15 years.

Spivack, whose daughter Debby suffered a brain injury as a teenager, started the National Head Injury Foundation at her home in Framingham, Mass. with a small group of 17 families and professionals in August of 1980. “Our loved ones had sustained severe head injuries,” explains Spivack. “Their prognosis was grim, and services were nonexistent.” With few professionals to turn to for help, the group was determined to build an organization which was based on their needs and deep frustrations as they searched for treatment options and services for individuals with brain injuries, she adds.

The organization was the first of its kind and not easy to build. “We learned from one another and we listened,” Spivack says. “Our accomplishments took time, patience, resources and many voices along with helping hands.”

While BIAA and BIA-MA have come a long way and had many successes, Spivack hopes the national organization and its chapters will continue to flourish and expand their visions by adding their voices to the health care reform discussions, tireless advocacy work on behalf of survivors and families and by taking advantage of the exciting advancements in the field of neuroscience.

Currently, Marilyn serves as a member of the BIA-MA Board of Directors and continues to advocate for brain injury services. Her tireless efforts have lent to legislative victories as well and she continues to travel extensively for conferences and speaking engagements. She is an advocate, through and through.

Celebrate the Journey with BIA-MA at Our 30th Anniversary Reception

Jim Braude (WGBH and NECN), Margery Eagan (WGBH and the Herald) and Robin Young (NPR), our honorary co-chairs, invite you to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts on October 9, 2013 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse in Boston. The festivities will begin with a reception and silent auction at 6 p.m. in the Atrium offering sweeping views of the Boston Harbor, followed by the awards presentation, live auction, and entertainment at 7 p.m. Our emcee is Mary Blake, a courageous survivor of brain injury, and an award-winning reporter and anchor at WBZ News Radio. Guest admission is $125 per person. A photo I.D. is required for admission.

Our celebration will honor four outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of brain injury. In 1980, Marilyn Price Spivack, the Neurotrauma Rehabilitation Outreach Coordinator at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, founded the Brain Injury Association of America and Inta Hall was a co-founder of the Massachusetts Brain Injury Association, now BIA-MA. These two extraordinary women will be recognized with the Founder’s Award for creating these organizations that were the first of their kind and remain national leaders. State Senator Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester) will be recognized with the Legislative Advocacy Award for her support of public policy efforts to improve the lives of survivors, and the Compassionate Care Award will be given to Dr. Douglas I. Katz, Medical Director of the Brain Injury Program at Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital in Massachusetts for more than 25 years.

You, our supporters, our constituents, friends and fellow advocates for brain injury survivors, are invited and more than welcome to celebrate with us–this momentous occasion. If you are a survivor and are looking for accommodations, we have them! Contact development@biama.org for more information.

You can participate in our 30th Anniversary: Celebrate the Journey event in three ways! You can sponsor the event, attend the event, and put a two-line message or full-color advertisement in the evening’s program book. Celebrate a loved one who lives with brain injury, a caregiver or friend who has been instrumental in your recovery and rehabilitation, or a professional who has kept you motivated by placing an ad or message in the event program book by clicking here.

For more information, visit our website and see how the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts Is Celebrating the Journey of 30 years of serving survivors of brain injury, their caregivers and family members and professionals in the field.