Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Raisin Hope for traumatic brain injuries

I met an extraordinary person the other day. I wanted to write about this sooner but it's so special that I didn't want to just go from brain to hand without any forethought like I usually do.

Ever heard of Saul Raisin? Those of you who are cyclists I'm fairly sure you have. Regardless, he's an amazing individual. Here's his whole story but in a nutshell he won the Best Young Rider in the 2006 Tour de France. During the last leg of the 2006 Giro de Italia, he was involved in a crash that changed his life. He received a traumatic brain injury.

Now, this is a familiar story - He had to walk, talk, read, etc. all over again. It's familiar because I had to do the same thing. It goes without saying, however, that I was far from the last leg of the Giro! But we are both on a very similar path to recovery.

Another article about him appears in this month's Triathlete magazine. Previously, I was aware vaguely of what happened to him but this was the first time I truly understood how similar our lives are.

Like any good stalker, I looked him up on Facebook and found his account. I sent him a message and he promptly emailed me right back. What a brave individual!

He also started a Foundation for brain injuries called Raisin Hope.

Now, I make fun of my brain injury and the epilepsy thereof because, frankly, at times it's downright funny. But this is now.

Then was a different story. I've had to clear a lot of mental obstacles to reach seeing any humor in it. Certainly, people, not just the injured but their families too, will not see any humor in it at all. But most people outside the Inner Circle will not understand or comprehend. The survivor must learn to get past this and prepare to explain again and again why they do certain things and can't do others. This Foundation is all about understanding.

This sort of injury involves a part of the body that's so darn unpredictable. Sometimes stuff doesn't appear for years. Some happens right away. Sometimes a combo of the two. It's very confusing and we never know what the next day will bring.

For the non-brain injured, this is a difficult concept to wrap yourself around. Sometimes, we don't know what you're saying and you must understand this and not make us feel like we're freaks. We feel like that enough as it is.

We need people on our side and we need to be on each other's sides. Please look at the Website and educate yourself about a completely different world. I've also got some other TBI related sites listed too. At least read about Saul Raisin. I'm so happy to have met you, Saul!

No comments: