Category Archives: Volunteerism

Announcement of “Chicken Soup for the Soul Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries” written by Sandra Madden.

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BIA-MA Staff & CSS Authors (Left to Right) Barbara Webster, Helen Stewart, Kelly Buttiglieri, Sandra Madden, and Suzanne D.K. Doswell

 

 

The Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIA-MA) is proud to announce that stories written by five of our staff members, as well as several Massachusetts residents affected by traumatic brain injury (TBI), were selected for inclusion in the new Chicken Soup for the Soul (CSS) book slated to hit bookstores nationwide on June 24th.  This new book is entitled Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries: 101 Stories of Hope, Healing and Hard Work.

Our Executive Director Nicole Godaire beamed with pride when presented with this new book.  “I am proud of my staff, having the courage to tell their stories to the world. I believe this book will become a valuable resource for families dealing with recovery from traumatic brain injury.”

The following are excerpts from our CSS Authors:

“This book is the quintessential book for those who want to step into the world of brain injury and is now a primary resource in the BIA-MA Western Regional office library.  It is easy to read, full of dynamic personal stories and exactly what we have needed as we attempt to explain brain injury to the medical world and general public.  Some readers will shed a few tears as they realize the life altering significance of TBI and others may finally be able to address their patient and client needs with a clearer sense of this silent epidemic from the voices of those who know.” ~ Suzanne Doswell, Western Regional Manager

“I am so very grateful to be a part of this book.  After reading most of the stories, I truly believe that this is the most powerful textbook about Brain Injury ever written.  It has so many different voices in chorus.  The harmony blends survivors, family members, caregivers and professionals into one song.   It is not merely academic jargon, but relates the experience and impact of brain injury through the heart.  It bridges the gap between words and experience.  I do not believe that one can read these stories and not gain a deeper understanding of Traumatic Brain Injury and have more compassion toward the people who live with it, in any capacity, on a daily basis.” ~ Helen Stewart, Western Region Information & Resources Outreach Coordinator

“It takes a long time to heal and rehabilitate from a brain injury, typically continuing long after your insurance coverage has ended.  It is the hardest work I have ever done but it led me to the most fulfilling work I have ever done, working with other survivors.  My mission is to let other survivors know they are not alone in their struggles and to encourage them to think about “How” they can do something instead of “I can’t”.   It is a journey, not a destination.  Never give up hope.” ~ Barbara Webster, Support Group Leader Liaison

“A few years after my accident, I ran into my neurologist on a plane, we were both going to St. Lucia for a vacation. I felt such pride and satisfaction in telling her I had graduated law school and was practicing law. I wanted her to know she should encourage patients to take small steps to accomplish their former, pre-TBI goals. She initially discouraged me from pursuing mine.” ~ Kelly Buttiglieri, Ambassador Program Coordinator

“Keeping a positive outlook has been key (for me) to not succumbing to the frustrating and painful consequences of TBI. Many amazing and inspirational people have come into my life since my accidents and I keep focus on this, the comfort and joy of these relationships.” ~ Sandra Madden, Administrative Assistant

Chicken Soup for the Soul was named by USA Today in 2007 as “one of the five most memorable books in the last quarter-century” and after 21 years of publishing, have sold over 100 million books in the United States and Canada alone. You now have the opportunity to bump that number past 100 million books by purchasing your copy of Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries: 101 Stories of Hope, Healing and Hard Work directly from the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts. We are selling the book for $12.50 (this is lower than the retail price and includes the cost of shipping and handling) and proceeds from the sale of each book will help support our mission: to create a better future for brain injury survivors and their families through brain injury prevention, education, advocacy and support.

To order online, visit www.biama.org. If you are unable to order online, please contact our offices and speak to Sandra Madden, she can be reached at (508) 475-0032 or toll-free (in state) at (800) 242-0030.

When you receive your book, look for BIA-MA colleagues’ stories on pages 64, 86, 177, 310, and 361.  Stories written by other Massachusetts residents affected by TBI appear on pages 15, 80, 128, 195, 212 and 307.

Legal Statement: The information contained in this blog does not reflect the specific views of BIA-MA. This blog is published for informational purposes only. BIA-MA is not providing medical, legal or other professional advice with its publication.

The Best “Job” In The World

Joan helped plan and execute a volunteer-run yard sale in 2011.

Joan helped plan and execute a volunteer-run yard sale in 2011.

Today’s blog is written by Joan Rauch, a BIA-MA volunteer who has been giving her time and talents for the past four years.

All through our lives we volunteer. Early on, we are often “volunteered” by our parents and become “committed volunteers” when our kids play sports or are involved in other activities such as scouting, music or the arts. At work and church, we are often “recruited to volunteer” for all kinds of worthy causes. To “volunteer” becomes ingrained in our daily lives, so much so, that we just accept that it is a job that must be done.

Then one day the thought of retirement brings the realization that we are now free to do whatever we want; to get involved in the things we have been waiting a life time to do. Some of us, like me, have been fortunate enough to be involved part time in the daily lives of our grandchildren. And many of us begin to look at the world in a different way; we look back and appreciate how fortunate we have been. Now that we have the luxury of time, we realize, that giving back, “volunteering” for the right cause, is indeed important to us. The ‘spirit of volunteerism’ becomes a part of us, centered in our thankful heart.

My own, ‘yes, I will’ moment came while reading the weekly insert in the Worcester Telegram. Volunteer opportunities filled several pages, but the one that caught my eye, was the one about the Brain Injury Association of MA. It was even located in my home town!

The article spoke about the chance to learn, to help and become a part of a vibrant and continually growing organization, one dedicated to people with brain injuries, their families and their care givers.

It has been almost four years since that article appeared and I know I made the right choice. I got to be a part of a welcoming environment, one that appreciates everything we volunteers do, no matter how big or small the job. As a volunteer, we are provided with on-going instructions for any task we undertake and we are permitted to attend appropriate client-focused education programs held by the BIA. We are accepted as part of the BIA team. We get to participate in activities involving brain injured adults and to experience, first hand, their  efforts to expand their capabilities and to witness their joy when they succeed.

As a volunteer, I get to work with other like minded people, ones who help add to my own sense of well-being and accomplishment. In a world full of possibilities, ”volunteering” at the BIA of MA, truly can be, one of the best jobs in the world.