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Kamloops Daily News

THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013

Gur Singh Invitational celebrates milestone

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Goal is to reach $1-million in total donations following 2013 event

he Annual Gur Singh Invitational Golf Tournament is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013. The tournament steering committee has set its sights on hitting the $1-million mark for total donations since the tournament began in 2004. Over the years, the tournament has become a powerhouse fundraiser inspiring Kamloops citizens and businesses to help people who are living with a brain injury in our community. But like many great initiatives, it started small. Actually, it started as a conversation at an IndoCanadian Link dinner in 2003, where Dr. Vishwanath Malliah made an off-hand comment to Dr. Gur Singh suggesting Dr. Singh start a golf tournament to help the Kamloops Brain Injury Association (KBIA). Dr. Singh had not heard of KBIA, but he was intrigued. He also liked to golf. A separate conversation with head nurse of the Neuro unit and board member of KBIA, Mary Dmytriw, assured Dr. Singh that KBIA was a worthy recipient and

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The tournament has grown and is now raising more than $100,000 each year for the KBIA. that they provided critical support for survivors of brain injury in the Kamloops community. The seed was planted. Dr. Singh rallied a group of enthusiastic supporters, including Dr. Malliah who served as cochair of the tournament steering committee, and Dr. Bob Smillie who helped put on the first tournament in 2004. The steering committee’s vision remains the same: to create a memorable experience for the golfers, donors, sponsors and participants while focusing on supporting survivors of brain injury and their families. The first tournament was held at Rivershore Golf Links where golfers played one round of what remains Kamloops only stroke play golf tournament. w Continued on following page


THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013

Tournament fills up each year These philanthropist golfers mean business. They raised about $17,000 for the KBIA that first year. Over the next few years, the donations increased along with the reputation of this Kamloopsexclusive fund-raiser. Golf spots are filled every year. By 2006 the tournament added another round of golf to accommodate new players. In 2010 the tournament moved to The Dunes at Kamloops. The tournament had grown and was now raising over $100,000 each year for KBIA, while providing fun competitive golf for the players. The tournament’s morning round provides fun scramble play

while the afternoon round is for bragging rights. Awards are handed out during the evening reception and dinner. The committee treats its players to a day of great golf, great food and drink, laughter, and fosters a sense of pride in being part of, and helping, our home community. From a casual conversation, Dr. Singh has inspired golfers, businesses and volunteers to give money to support KBIA for a decade through the Annual Gur Singh Invitational Golf Tournament. He has truly made a huge difference in the lives of people living with an acquired brain injury.

After 10 years, the Gur Singh Invitational Golf Tournament is stronger than ever. Held this year at The Dunes in Westsyde, the annual tournament is the largest fundraiser for the Kamloops Brain Injury Association, bringing in more than $100,000 annually. This year it is expected the year to date total will top $1 million. This would not be possible were it not for the commitment of the community and the support of local businesses.

Photography by Kent Wong

Kamloops Daily News

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Kamloops Daily News

THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013

Surviving a car crash only half the battle T

here are lots of things Gary Mattioli has trouble remembering, but the story of the night that changed his life forever is not one of them. Mattioli was a young man — just 37 years old — and working as a heavy-duty mechanic for Afton Mine on Dec. 23, 1983. It was the last shift before Christmas and when he finished his 12 hours, he got into his four-by-four truck and headed home, planning to pick up a Christmas tree on route. Mattioli lived near Paul Lake; he grew up in the area, and his parents were still living just down the road. “I’d driven that road since I was 16,” he says.

But that night a deer jumped out in front of the truck, so he swerved, missing the deer and hit a tree instead. “The first fellow that came along didn’t do anything because he thought I was dead. The second guy worked for CP Rail and had just finished a first aid course. He got me out of my truck and into his,” Mattioli says, acknowledging that this is the story he’s been told. He has no memory of the crash. He spent 18 days in a coma following the crash, and a further 18 months in hospital recuperating. When he woke from the coma, he was a changed man.

“I didn’t have memory of hardly anything. I didn’t even really know who my mom was. She seemed familiar.” He had what doctors called “a compact skull fracture.” Following the brain injury, he had to learn to walk again. Nearly 30 years later, he says, his balance is “fairly good.” But life never returned to normal for Mattioli. “I went back to work at the mine for a bit, and it wasn’t so bad there,” he says, but when that job ended he struggled to find permanent employment. “To get back working in truck shops was pretty hard with my lack of confidence,” he says. He

was also in denial, refusing to accept there was anything wrong with him. “There’s a sense of pride,” he says, reflecting on the journey he was forced to take. “I think about it quite a lot,” he says, remembering back to the night of the accident. “I wish I had broken both my arms instead.” The accident didn’t take his life, but it certainly altered Mattioli’s path, and he’s grateful for the assistance of the Kamloops Brain Injury Association for keeping him moving forward. “They’ve helped me through a lot of tough times, both life skillswise, and legal-wise.”

Gary Mattioli depended on the Kamloops Brain Injury Association after a car crash altered his life in 1983.

Your loved one has been in an accident or has had a stroke. They have sustained a brain injury. What does that mean? Broken arms and legs can be seen and are almost always reparable. An acquired brain injury (ABI) can’t be seen in most circumstances, is often irreparable, and the effects can be huge and life-long. Your loved one is an ABI survivor. They may never truly be

healed or return to being the person they were before the injury. Now what do you do? After any immediate medical concerns are addressed, the next most important thing someone with a brain injury needs is an advocate. An advocate is someone, or often multiple people, that can help assess the survivor’s day to day needs, their ability to obtain those needs, and, if neces-

sary, help them get the things they need. If the brain injury was caused by an event where the law deems there is a party legally culpable for the harm, then a specialized personal injury lawyer will be one of the survivor’s advocates. The lawyer’s role is to document the changes or harm suffered by the survivor to provide a pre-injury/post-injury evaluation. The

lawyer will utilize a team of specialists or medical advocates, which may include a neurologist, a neuropsychologist, a psychiatrist, and a community occupational therapist. The lawyer and medical practitioners advocate for the survivor’s legal and health rights. A survivor’s day to day advocacy needs are usually fulfilled by a family member. Education and

support for family members is key. The Kamloops Brain Injury Association provides education, prevention programs, survivors’ support groups, caregivers’ support groups, and one on one support. As needed, the KBIA will provide life skills training, advocacy, and crisis intervention. If you or a loved one has sustained a brain injury, the KBIA can help you.

Advocacy key to supporting brain injury survivors


THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013

Kamloops Daily News

Workplace injury devastating for victim T

hey don’t discriminate and they can happen at any moment. A moment of inattention and that’s it, life as it had been is now over. The person you used to be, gone completely. Caroline Johnson knows this all too well. Three years ago she went in for a regular shift at work. She turned, smashed her head into a steel door frame and lost consciousness for no more than five seconds. “Someone said it sounded like a baseball hitting a bat,” she says, recalling the accident. Doctors said she had a severe concussion, called it a “complicated injury,” and said there was little they could do to help her. As a result of the injury, the then-24-year-old couldn’t work.

where do you turn? Where do I turn for support with my child? If the support wasn’t there I don’t know how I would survive.”

—Caroline johnson, brain injury survivor

She couldn’t feel hot or cold, couldn’t taste or smell. The worker’s compensation board sent her for physiotherapy and some rehabilitation, but it didn’t help much. Eventually, her family took her to Vancouver where she found some success with naturopathic treatments, but those were costly. Her symptoms were so severe at the beginning that she couldn’t walk from the couch to the front

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door without becoming exhausted. She slept all the time. “I loved bowling, but I had to stop. I loved crafts, but couldn’t do those either.” The injury was devastating for the young woman; the one bright light took place when her son was born, eight months ago. But despite her love for her child, she’s also facing many hurdles. And that’s where the Kamloops Brain Injury Association comes in. While Johnson has the support of family and friends, the KBIA is there beside her when she needs an advocate to help her navigate through the Ministry of Children and Family Development, as well as through WCB. “They listen. There’s another ear there,” she says of the help

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she receives. “When you’ve got a brain injury, where do you turn? Where do I turn for support with my child? If the support wasn’t there I don’t know how I would survive,” Johnson says. And more than advocacy, she has a place to go where she no longer feels alone, and where there are people who know exactly what she is going through. “I don’t like saying this, but sometimes I feel like it was my fault. That the brain injury was my fault,” she says, quietly. But when she arrives at the KBIA she feels acceptance, and she’s heartened that there are others who are worse off than she is, and who still manage to find joy in the day to day, so that gives her hope for the future.

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Caroline Johnson says she feels accepted by the Kamloops Brain Injury Association, and has learned to be grateful despite facing challenges.

DAD

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the incredible support and example. I feel extraordinarily lucky to be your son. Congratulations on your amazing work in support of brain injury survivors and in support of brain injury prevention! with all my love,

ARJUN TO THE

Thank you for giving me the huge honour to serve on your city council! If ever you have any questions, ideas, or concerns on community issues, please do not hesitate to contact me at (250) 574-3509 or ASINGH@KAMLOOPS.CA. You are also welcome to visit my community blog, www.yourkamloops.com, and to follow me on twitter, @ARJUNSINGH. very best

ARJUN

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ARJUN SINGH WITH PARENTS DR. GUR SINGH AND MANJU SINGH

CITIZENS OF KAMLOOPS


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Kamloops Daily News

THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013

Celebrating Survival Annual dinner raises awareness, funds By Rajeshwari Rajimwale Insight Magazine Progress in the medical field to treat brain injury has helped in lowering the death rate and improve recovery, but survivors still face many challenges. “The biggest challenge for brain injury survivors is facing the social consequences,” said Dr. Gur Singh, a retired neurosurgeon and founder of the Gur Singh Invitational Golf tournament. “Survivors realize the effects of injury and the fact that they are dependent on others for even the smallest functions of their day-to-day life activities. This causes severe depression amongst them.” As a retired neurosurgeon Dr. Singh wanted to help his brain injured patients. “In 2003 with the support of the Kamloops Brain Injury Association (KBIA), I was successful in start-


THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013

ing the Gur Singh Invitational Golf Tournament. The tournament is a fundraising event for the survivors. What started as a conversation with one of my friends has seen great success over the years. We are now into 10th year of this fundraising tournament.” As a part of the fundraising Dr. Singh and his team also host the annual Celebrating Survival Dinner, held on May 31 at the TRU Grand Hall. “This year alone we raised $55,000 approximately which will be donated to the cause,” says Dr. Singh. The theme of the dinner this year was Princely India. It was an amalgamation of Indian cuisine and entertainment. The highlight of the evening was the live auction. The dinner saw a huge turnout in support of the Kamloops Brain Injury Association. “It has been an absolute pleasure in associating with the Gur Singh Invitational Golf Tournament and the Celebrating Survival Dinner,” says TerryLynn Stone, executive director, Kamloops Brain Injury Association. KBIA helps survivors and their families by offering specialized programs and life skills education. “Look at survivors as real people,” says Stone. “Treat them like individuals. Don’t sympathize or pity them. Learn to empathize with the survivors.”

On May 31, leading into June which is Brain Injury Awareness Month, the community came out to support the Kamloops Brain Injury Association in a big way. Held at Thompson Rivers University, the 2013 Celebrating Survival Dinner raised in excess of $55,000 which will be used to support those living with brain injury in Kamloops.

Photography by Kent Wong

Kamloops Daily News

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Kamloops Daily News

THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013

LARGEST CHARITY GOLF EVENT IN KAMLOOPS September 6, 2013 The Dunes At Kamloops Two rounds: Morning – 7pm Registration 7:45am Start of Best Ball Tournament Afternoon – 11am Registration 12:45pm Start of Afternoon Stroke Play ––––––––––––––––– Putting Contest, Hole in One Prizes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Reception Included ––––––––––––––––– For registration details please contact Gur Singh at 250-372-4856

One-on-One Lifeskills

Community Education

Facilitated Support Groups

Prevention Programs


THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013

LEAD SPONSORS:

PLATINUM SPONSORS:

MEDIA SPONSORS: Printing donated by:

Helping people with acquired brain injury live to their full potential.

Donate Online at kbia.ca

Kamloops Daily News

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Kamloops Daily News

THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013

Risky lifestyle leads to traumatic brain injury I

t had been raining and the wooden stairs were slippery on that March morning so many years ago. As if that weren’t treacherous enough, Pam Kilgour had been drinking. A lot. She put her foot on the top step and down she went. She fell 13 stairs until the landing, leaned over to grab the handrail, and fell another 13 stairs, this time landing head-first on concrete. In hospital, doctors gave her what she calls “a full cranial,” where they removed three quarters of her skull to stop the hemorrhaging and to remove all the blood clots. She was in a coma and wasn’t expected to recover.

(The KBIA) linked me up with everybody. They saved my life. They don’t blame me or make me feel stupid.”

—Pam Kilgour, Brain injury Survivor

Five days later, however, she woke up, and after a matter of days, most of her faculties returned. She was 40 years old when she took that fall. Life had been fairly complicated for Kilgore before the accident — an admitted drug addict — and it didn’t get any easier after.

A few years after the accident she broke one hip, then it wasn’t long after she broke another. Because of the brain damage she suffered in the original fall she ended up with further neurological damage after surgery to repair her hip. But despite serious mobility issues that require her dependence on a scooter to get around, she’s still able to laugh. She’s still able to see the bright side. “I’ve been sober five years,” Kilgore says. Getting drug and alcohol free was one of Kilgore’s goals when she first came to Kamloops Brain Injury Association. KBIA’s support made all the difference.

And having cleaned up, those services have been a lifesaver, she says. A case worker at the KBIA helped find Kilgore an apartment in a safe, drug free building. They’ve helped her with her food and meal planning, as well as given financial advice. “I know I’d have either gone back to using or drinking, or I’d be dead,” Kilgore says matter-offactly about how vital the services of the KBIA have become in her life. “They linked me up with everybody. They saved my life.” And best of all, she says: “They don’t blame me or make me feel stupid.”

Pam Kilgour says without the support of KBIA she’d have gone back to using drugs or would be dead by now.

A simple history of the KBIA; a story of hope The Kamloops Brain Injury Association (KBIA) was formed in 1986 by a group of concerned individuals aware of the considerable need to provide support to persons with brain injury and their families, and to increase awareness about brain injury within the community at large. The society incorporated in 1990 as The Kamloops Head Inju-

ry Association, and in 1996 changed its name to the Kamloops Brain Injury Association. Behind these simple facts lie many changed and often devastated lives. The meetings, which were at first held monthly in the board room of HMZ Law, later became weekly meetings held in a small room at Royal Inland Hospital.

When the need for information and support grew exponentially and survivors were looking for more continuous service, KBIA became a stand-alone organization, finally growing into the agency that citizens of Kamloops have become familiar with on Victoria Street. One of the driving forces for the creation of KBIA was the real

dearth of information available on brain injury recovery. Survivors were commonly told they were “better” or “cured,” or that they were as good as they were going to get so they had better get on with life. Far too often it was implied that these survivors might be looking for sympathy or even malingering. Speaking to survivors who

suffered their injuries 15 or more years ago, many will tell you their friends, their employers and even their families thought they “weren’t trying to get better.” Today we know better; and KBIA is grateful for all the support and generosity shown by the community of Kamloops. For more information about the KBIA, visit www.kbia.ca.


THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013

Kamloops Daily News

The startling statistics about brain injury

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Brain injury is a permanent, chronic condition, and people with injuries often develop other conditions mors, infections, toxins, surgical procedures or drugs and alcohol occur at a rate of 166,455 in Canada and 22,000 in B.C. each year. The incidence are even higher in children, with 795 out of 100,000 children suffering a brain injury annually. Fast facts about brain injury: w One person is injured every three minutes in Canada w The highest incidence of traumatic injury is in young men aged 16-24 w Occurs at 100 times the rate of spinal cord injury w Kills more children (up to 20 years) than all other causes combined

w Close to four per cent of the population lives with a brain injury w In excess of 160,000 people living in B.C. are living with a permanent disability from brain injury w A significant number of missed cases, misdiagnosis or misattribution has been reported in the literature making staggering estimates truly epidemic in proportion w Once a brain injury occurs, the consequences can include a complex variety of physical, cognitive and behavioural problems. Without significant physical injuries, brain injury can be misdiag-

nosed or even missed completely w Cognitive difficulties are not always obvious, but can have devastating consequences. w 53 per cent of homeless people have a brain injury—the vast majority, 77 per cent were injured prior to becoming homeless w 82 per cent of the prison population lives with a disability as a result of a traumatic brain injury w Up to 10 per cent of all children have an undiagnosed brain injury affecting learning abilities w 20 per cent of children diagnosed with emotional disabilities have a brain injury w 30 per cent of children classi-

fied as learning disabled have a brain injury w Following a brain injury, people are seven times more likely to develop mental illness w People living with a brain injury often present complex and difficult to service profiles w Traditional service strategies based on motivational or behaviour management strategies are ineffective for people living with cognitive disabilities from a brain injury w Brain injury is a permanent chronic condition that plays a significant “gateway” role in the development of other costly health and social issues

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f all types of injury, brain injury is the most likely to result in permanent disability or death. Recognized throughout the world as a problem of epidemic proportions, it is considered a silent epidemic because of its cognitive nature. There are no reliable estimates of acquired brain injuries in Canada today, so many of the current statistics are extrapolated from American data; however this data is compatible and relevant for Canadian population estimates. According to the United States Centre for Disease Control, brain injury from trauma alone (not including stroke, aneurysm, tu-

Kamloops

fourpoints.com/kamloops 1175 ROGERS WAY 250.374.4144 • 1.800.368.7764


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Kamloops Daily News

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THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013

Concussion: Prevention and education

oncussion — it’s a commonly used term, but how many of us actually know what a concussion looks like, what the symptoms are, and what to do to prevent one in the first place? Concussions are common. A Statistics Canada report found that in 2009-2010, an estimated 98,440 people, or 2.4 per cent of the population aged 12 and over, sustained a head injury. Of those, 57 per cent were working-age adults, 23 per cent were adolescents and 20 per cent were seniors. Unlike a broken arm, however, the symptoms of a concussion vary widely and often go unreported. According to Stopconcussions.com, a national non-profit organization aimed at educating people about brain injury, 66 per cent of teenagers who suffered a concussion did not feel it was serious enough to report the injury to an adult. One of the reasons concussions so often go unreported is because no two head injuries look the same. A concussion occurs when the head or body is hit hard. Normally, the fluid around the brain acts as a cushion and keeps the brain from banging into the skull. But if

the head or body is hit hard enough, the brain can crash into the skull and become injured. A direct blow to the face, neck or elsewhere on the body can cause a concussion if the force of impact is transmitted to the head. There are many ways to sustain a concussion: fights, falls, playground injuries, car crashes and bike accidents. Concussions are also fairly common while participating in sports, including soccer, hockey, football, boxing and skiing. Symptoms of a concussion can include haziness, grogginess, impaired motor skills, blurred vidaily news file photo sion, headache, loss of memory, Helmets, like the one worn here by nausea or vomiting. These symp- Lachlan Sillitoe, are essential for preventing head injury. toms can occur immediately or up to 48 hours after the incident. hockey and football. A helmet Recognition and proper manshould always be worn when you agement of a concussion can help drive or ride on a motorcycle, in the recovery and prevention of scooter, snowmobile or ATV. further injury or even death. w Make your home safer to preIt may not be possible to completely prevent a concussion from vent falls Reduce your child’s chance of occurring, but steps can be taken getting a concussion by: to reduce your risk of injury: w Use child car seats and boostw Wear a seat belt every time er seats correctly you drive or ride in a vehicle. w Teach your child bicycle safety w Never drive when you’re under w Teach your child how to be the influence of drugs or alcohol daily news file photo safe around streets and cars w Wear a helmet and safety w Teach your child playground Michelle Maglisceau is doing everything right when she climbs with her equipment when you ride a bike, children Tyler and Laia at the Brocklehurst playground. It’s important to safety or play sports such as baseball, teach your children playground safety to avoid falls.


THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013

Kamloops Daily News

KBIA works hard to support survivors I

f you ask the general public what they’ve heard about the Kamloops Brain Injury Association (KBIA), they may mention the golf tournament and the Celebrating Survival Dinner, but there is so much more to KBIA. While both the golf tournament and the dinner are vitally important, they’re really a means to an end. KBIA exists exclusively to serve the needs of brain injury survivors, to support survivors’ families and caregivers, and to provide education on injury prevention to the Kamloops community at large. KBIA provides brain injury survivors with one-on-one life skills services which include every aspect of daily living from budgeting on a low income to learning memory strategies, from learning to take transit to navigating the medical system. KBIA provides information for caregivers, substance abuse and emotional management for clients, as well as support groups that include peer support. Social and cognitive support is especially important as survivors often have poor self-esteem, so KBIA offers therapeutic art classes too. KBIA encourages community integration through wellness programs as well as social events.

The educational programs target at-risk youth in various school and university programs. A large component of our education program is focused on the Kamloops community to raise awareness of brain injury and accident prevention. Of course, it costs money for qualified staff to provide these useful services. Like so many nonprofit organizations, KBIA is very adept at achieving a great deal on a very limited budget, but even so, they are always short of funds. KBIA receives funding from several sources, including the Interior Health Authority (IHA). A contract with the IHA requires KBIA to provide service to brain injured survivors between the ages of 19 and 65 years. Sixty per cent of this service is to be offered oneon-one to individuals; 30 per cent goes toward group offerings, and 10 per cent is to be used for education and injury prevention. Until recently, this contract was renewed annually. In 2012, the IHA provided KBIA with a threeyear contract. Once considered a main source of funding, the IHA has advised KBIA not to consider this as core funding. Ongoing cuts and other demands within the IHA mean that this funding can The Kamloops Brain Injury Association and clients, pictured at top, have long been located at 408 Victoria St. The KBIA relies on community donanever be considered secure. See STRONG on page S15

tions and volunteer support in order to provide services to those in need.

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Kamloops Daily News

THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013

Car crashes, falls are leading cause of brain injury

Dr. Richard Brownlee Neurosurgeon

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n Kamloops, approximately 650 major head injuries occur per year with approximately 50 deaths caused by traumatic brain injury (TBI). Motor vehicle accidents and falls are the leading cause of TBI in Canada. Firearmrelated trauma is a common cause of TBI in the United States. Who suffers brain injuries? TBI affects people of all ages, from infants to the elderly. Brain injuries affect males twice as often as women with the highest incidence occurring in young men between 15 and 24 years of age. The next highest group are men over the age of 60. More young men die from their injuries because they suffer more severe injuries, such as motorcycle and allterrain vehicle accidents and falls. What happens to the brain? Damage to the brain occurs in two stages. First, there is the immediate damage caused by the traumatic event. This is followed by a period of secondary damage which is caused by decreased blood flow, lack of oxygen or increased pressure in the skull. Damage is also caused by chemicals that are released in the brain at the time of the injury.

Housing, emotional support, education for the survivor and their family, employment retraining and job assistance are badly needed but are often not available because of lack of government funding.” —Dr. Richard Brownlee, neurosurgeon

How are brain injuries treated? The goal of treatment is to minimize the amount of secondary damage. This is often done by performing operations to relieve pressure on the brain and by providing oxygen from a ventilator and improving blood flow with medication. The length of stay in hospital can be a few days to more than six months. Treating patients with TBI costs over $2 billion per year in Canada. What are the symptoms of TBI? TBIs are classified as mild, moderate or severe. The severe injuries are easy to detect and are represented in the numbers above. However, a lot of minor brain injuries go undetected or unreported. Sports concussions are often considered mild, but some peo-

ple can have long-lasting symptoms or permanent effects. Symptoms of mild traumatic brain injuries can include headaches, vision problems, fatigue, poor concentration, short-term memory problems and behavioural changes. These symptoms can affect a person’s ability to work; their performance in school; and their interactions with family, friends and coworkers. Severe brain injuries can result in long periods of coma; paralysis; and speech, comprehension, coordination and balance problems which can affect mobility. Many people with severe TBI never return to the work force. Many become dependent on their family or on social assistance. What are the consequences of

a brain injury? Unfortunately, there are many people who suffer mild to moderate brain injuries which go undetected. The person experiences a change in their ability to perform tasks that previously came naturally. This can involve activities such as paying bills, preparing meals, finding and retaining a job or being in a relationship. Being labelled with a traumatic brain injury can change how a person is viewed by his or her peers and by society. This often leads brain injured people to withdraw from social interaction and can lead to drug and alcohol dependence. Because many head injury survivors have difficulty finding or retaining a job this often leads to financial hardship and homelessness. What can be done?

A major goal to minimize the number of head injuries is prevention. Implementing seat belt laws and helmet laws have improved survival and reduced the severity of traumatic brain injuries. However, there is still a long way to go. Assistance is also needed for people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. Housing, emotional support, education for the survivor and their family, employment retraining and job assistance are badly needed but are often not available because of lack of government funding. Fortunately, we live in a community that does offer assistance through the Kamloops Brain Injury Association (KBIA). This nonprofit organization provides programs, education and a place where people who have suffered a brain injury and their families can interact. KBIA is highly dependent on funding from sources like the Annual Gur Singh Invitational Golf tournament, the Celebrating Survival Dinner and the United Way. They receive some funding from government sources, but it is severely limited. I applaud KBIA for the assistance that they offer and for their professional staff who do such a wonderful job.


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Kamloops Daily News

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Brain injured find support through KBIA programs

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amloops Brain Injury Association works to provide support to all of its clients, and does so by tailoring programs to meet their needs. Some of these programs include: Women’s Support Group KBIA offers a support group especially for women dealing with the effects of a brain injury. The group is aimed at providing a safe, respectful environment where women can feel a sense of self-empowerment. Substance Use and Brain Injury This group focuses on helping survivors understand the after

effects of a brain injury and how substances can be a debilitating factor during recovery. Emotional Management This group is set up in a series of sessions that are aimed at helping survivors cope with their emotions following a brain injury. Stained Glass Therapeutic Art Program Through the design and building of stained glass projects members develop important functioning and motor skills. Bead Work Class

This group offers a creative outlet to sharpen patience and motor skills through a variety of beading projects. Financial Management This series of sessions originally facilitated by the SIFE students at Thompson Rivers University is aimed at helping survivors manage and understand their finances. Fraud Prevention Workshop This is one-class workshop is at providing tools for survivors of acquired brain injury to recognize fraud and learn to protect themselves.

Pet Partnership This group aids survivors in caring for their pets in the best possible way. This program allows survivors access to reduced veterinarian fees related to procedures and medications. Music Group This groups offers survivors the opportunity to learn to play instruments in a supportive environment with one-on-one instruction. Drop-in Group Our drop-in group is an outlet for survivors to hang out, play some games, socialize and overcome any boredom.

Cooper’s & Save-On Foods support KBIA Visit Cooper’s Foods during the months of June and July and help support Kamloops Brain Injury Association. Shoppers are encouraged to donate SaveOn More Points. Cooper’s and Save-On Foods will match the points, and all funds raised will go to support survivors of brain injury living in Kamloops.

Strong partnership between KBIA and United Way Continued from page S13

KBIA considers its relationship with IHA to be a good one, and works closely with the Acquired Brain Injury program to ensure brain injured survivors are well served. A partnership between KBIA and the United Way Thompson, Nicola, Cariboo, provides funding for a front office coordinator and for brain injured survivors who are over 65 years of age. This funding ensures that as survivors age, they are not reliant on nonspecific services as their needs

naturally increase. The office coordinator is a front line worker who reviews all requests for service, ensuring that those most in need are seen first. This partnership with the United Way has provided the funds to ensure KBIA can maximize its services while minimizing costs. The recognition by the United Way that non-profit organizations are starved for operating funds demonstrates their clear view of society’s needs. Most of the rest of KBIA’s funding comes from one-time or occa-

sionally repeat donations from organizations, foundations and businesses. This year, KBIA received funds from TELUS, The City of Kamloops Social Planning Grant, the Conconi Foundation and the Royal Bank of Canada. Without these donations, many of our programs — especially those programs aimed at education and prevention — would not be possible. What may not be immediately obvious is how KBIA struggles to find money for operational funds. Almost none of KBIA’s rent, com-

puter, telephone, cellphone or other general business expenses are covered by funding. This leaves a big gap in the budget—to say nothing of trying to fund diverse activities for survivors. Everything KBIA tries to do to make survivors’ and their families’ lives better, costs money. Enter the Celebrating Survival Dinner and the Annual Gur Singh Invitational Golf Tournament. Without the support of individuals, businesses and organizations for these events, KBIA simply couldn’t provide the services it does.

Brain injury isn’t top-of-mind like many other afflictions, yet more young people die of brain injury than all other causes combined. The cost to society of even one brain injury is huge—yet KBIA is always short of funds. If you can help, either through supporting the events, or with a donation made directly to KBIA, survivors and staff will be very grateful. Your donation will stay in Kamloops and will be stretched to the limit to provide services for people who far too often fall through the cracks.


Kamloops Daily News

David Marr Q.C.

THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013

Tara Decker

Kevin Cowan

HMZ Law and the Kamloops Brain Injury Association have shared a close relationship since David Marr founded the Association in 1986. The firm is proud of its role in helping KBIA advocate for survivors and for ensuring survivors live to their full potential.

Corey Lencovic

Joseph Zak

HMZ Law thanks and congratulates Gur for his incredible commitment to the betterment of Kamloops as a whole, and more specifically to the brain injury community.

If, as Picasso said, the meaning of life is to find your gift and the The partnership with the Gur Singh Golf Tournament plays an purpose of life is to give it away, then Gur Singh lives a very important role in the delivery of services to the brain injury successful life. community.

“We care about your future” A team of experienced professionals sensitive to the needs of both the survivor and the family Suite 600-175 Second Avenue, Kamloops, BC V2C 5W1

T. 250.372.1221 TF: 1.800.558.1933 We travel to you

E: hmz@hmzlaw.com • www.hmzlaw.com

D001619854

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KBIA 10 Years  

The Annual Gur Singh Invitational Golf Tournament is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013.

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