Angela’s September Letter

Dear Friends,

After two months of planning, reorganizing and restoring our energy, we kicked off on September 8th to a packed house of excited brain injury survivors, friends, family and community members. What a beautiful night! C.S. Lewis (1960) penned in his book, The Four Loves, “Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: What! you too?” I can attest to many happy faces, huge grins, lots of hugging, high fives and joyful expressions found in comradarie at our Tuesday night group, Friends of Brain Injury (F.B.I.).

The theme for September was Get Inspired. We shared summer adventures, learned about the hikes that volunteers and survivors participated in, heard about vacations, concerts attended, and so much more. We typically start our weekly F.B.I. with welcoming new people. We had over 30 new friends attend in the month with many finding about us from a local hospital, a web search or word of mouth. With many new faces in the multi purpose room, we were packed in like sardines. Even though the temperature in the room was pushing 90 degrees, no one left as we absorbed in hearing stories, playing insanely crazy games and writing songs.

One team of 10 wrote a song to the tune of “Piano Man” by Billy Joel.

It’s 5 o’clock on a Tuesday night
The F.B.I. crowd is signing in
There’s old and young folks sitting next to me
Trying to remember my name.

A man says, “Can you help me with my memory?”
“I’m not really sure who you are.”
But it’s sad and it’s sweet and I knew it complete
Then he remembered my face.

Teach us some memory strategies
Play a game with me tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for F.B.I.

All I can say is that I plan the activities and then magic happens in the room. I have found that people like to have fun, learn from each other and also have a reason to celebrate. Our last Tuesday of the month, we heard from Jon and Kelly Levin, parents of Ashlyn. They gave an inspiring talk on never giving up, challenging medicine and being an advocate at all times. Ashlyn is riding an adapted bicycle, floating in the pool, walking on an assisted treadmill and going from sitting to standing independently. She continues therapy daily after 4 years and Kelly encourages people to take the classes at B.R.A.I.N., try yoga, get massages, as all of these modalities help heal the brain.

In conclusion, October is dedicated to Harmonizing the Emotions. I hope to see you in the crowd. Trust me it is worth it.

Sincerely,

Angela Mandas, MA CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
F.B.I. Facilitator