BBQ joins two groups together

The words “Brain Injury” leave a frightening message to most of us. Not so for Angela Mandas at Cal State Long Beach or Susan Rueb at Brain Rehabilitation And Injury Network.

Three years ago, Angela Mandas a Speech Language Pathologist, working at California State University, in the Communicative Disorders department, met a 32 year old man who had a stroke. This young man was independent prior to his stroke but has now returned to living with his parents due to the significance of his impairment. This young man lost his ability to talk and began a new journey as a 32 year old. He was the motivating factor for Ms. Mandas to form a group at the University to bring those who were once independent and now dependent and unable to make their needs known due to the stroke. From 5 people under the age of 55 in 2007 to 35 people with acquired brain injuries in 2010; the Young Neuro Group (YNG) has joined with the non profit organization called B.R.A.I.N. (Brain Rehabilitation And Injury Network) to shine light on the neglected issue of brain injury.

On Saturday, August 7th, 95 people participated in the B.R.A.I.N. and YNG barbeque held at the Mandas home. “We want you to enjoy what it is like to feel normal again” stated Mandas as she encouraged the survivors to step into her swimming pool. “You shouldn’t live life alone and disconnected from your previous life” exclaimed Sue Rueb, founder of B.R.A.I.N. She added, “Our mission is to advance research, recovery and residential care for adult brain injured survivors. Today is certainly aiding the recovery for many.” Scott Sefcik had not been in a pool prior to his motorcycle accident 3 years ago. He was hesitant at first but he found the water relaxing and easy to walk in. He along with others was cheered on to take the leap into something unknown. The day was filled with good food, laughter and sharing of stories. One would think it was a wedding reception as the backyard was tented and the tables were set with linens and balloons. “I feel special today” reports Ron Johnson who lives at Edgewater Convalescent Hospital in Long Beach. “I cannot believe others are like me and I don’t see them.”  Mr. Johnson suffered a head injury as a young man from an auto accident. He is in his late 50’s and enjoys music, television and talking to people. Sue Rueb stated, “This collaboration with Angela Mandas and her survivors just creates a bigger network for those who have survived head injuries and strokes.”

There is room for both volunteers and brain injured adults in this network. Please visit for more information.


  1. I have a sister, husband and son who all have brain injuries. I would like to know if there any meetings I can attend to learn more and to receive encouragement.

    • Check out Friends of Brain Injury Meetings, held Tuesday’s from 2:30 to 5;00 AT Cornerstone Church, 1000 Studebaker Road Long Beach.
      Email Sue Rueb, The Founder at Sue @the brain

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