Newsletter – June/July 2012


The 3 C’s…Caring,
and Connecting

Dear Friends,

Summer is here and I am excited to share the last C from the series on the 3C’s – Connecting.
At an early age, we learn how to engage with our parents by making eye contact, reaching out and holding their hands when we cross the street, or embracing in a loving hug – we Connect.  As we grow older, we prefer not to Connect with our parents typically as our friends become more important.  We make our families a lesser priority, and friendship and belonging become the greater significance.  As adults we return to the need to Connect with our parents and families as we mature in comprehending the importance of the family unit.  At B.R.A.I.N. we bring families together again after catastrophic events such as stroke, head injury, brain injuries caused by cardiac arrest, aneurysms and brain tumors.  We value the Connection of people reaching out to others for support, for courage, for assistance and for the intrinsic need of wanting to belong.

Click HERE to read more…

B.R.A.I.N. Opens New Office in Cypress

(Pictured Left: Mr. Douglas A. Bailey, Mayor; Mrs. Joan Jensen; Ms. Kristin Rueb; Dr. Art Laos; Dr. Richard Adams; Mrs. Carol Laos; Mrs. Sue Rueb, Founder/President; Ms. Jana Rueb; Mr. Leroy Mills, Council Member

(Pictured Right: Mrs. Sue Rueb, Founder/President)
On Saturday, July 14, 2012, Brain Rehabilitation And Injury Network (B.R.A.I.N.) celebrated the opening of their new facility in the City of Cypress located at 5656 Corporate Avenue with a festive ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by a well-attended reception. 

B.R.A.I.N. is a non-profit organization (501c3) that advocates for and administers help to brain-injured adults and their families. B.R.A.I.N.’s mission is to advance the highest level of research, recovery, and residual care for adults who have sustained a brain injury, and to provide their families with resources and support.  The organization is unique in that it provides services to consumers whether they can afford the help or not.   Because B.R.A.I.N. has such a high ratio of volunteer help, the organization is able to offer their services at a significantly lower cost to survivors.


B.R.A.I.N. offers a weekly meeting for brain-injury survivors and their families called Friends of Brain Injury, or F.B.I.  Consumers can attend with family members so that the entire family is assisted in gaining valuable information about brain injury and the survivor learns skills in communication, cognition, public speaking, and other social activities.


Click HERE to read more…


Concert on the Green Recap

The first concert of the summer featured the Tom Nolan Band, which gave a terrific performance with a number of jazz, rhythm and blues, classic rock, and soul songs.  People of all ages came out to see this rocking band at the Cypress Civic Center on Saturday June 16th.  Lawn chairs, wheelchairs, large blankets, and a couple of tents dotted the large green under the shade of beautiful, big trees.  The soulful voice of the special guest singer that accompanied the band, especially during Aretha Franklin songs or other classic soul ballads, was simply beautiful and added to the many jazz instruments played in the band.  Many audience members grooved in their seat while enjoying the sunny weather and terrific music, although there were also many people who started dancing in the front of the lawn, near the stage or in the aisles.
Click HERE to read more…


Next Concert in on the Green Event:
Saturday, August 4th / 6pm-8pm
“Abbey Road” performing at the Cypress Civic Center (5275 Orange Avenue, Cypress, CA)

Summer 2012 B.R.A.I.N. Events and Other Opportunities


Cypress Community Festival
Saturday, July 28th / 9am-5pm at Oak Knoll Park

Address: 5700 Orange Ave, Cypress (between Valley View and Walker)


City of Los Alamitos Summer Music and Movies Event- “Cars 2” Saturday, August 11th / 6:30-10pm

Address: 3191 Katella Avenue, Los Alamitos


Concert on the Green

Saturday, August 4th / 6-8pm at the Cypress Civic Center Green

Address: 5275 Orange Avenue, Cypress

B.R.A.I.N. Annual Picnic

Saturday, August 18th / 12-5pm at El Dorado Park

Address: 2760 Studebaker Road, Long Beach


*Call Samantha Gardner at (562) 338-5994 if you need a ride to either the Concert on the Green or B.R.A.I.N. Picnic.

B.R.A.I.N.’s Impact on My Life

By Rachelle Nesgoda


My first exposure to B.R.A.I.N. was when Angela Mandas invited me and my classmates to the first Think Tank symposium in February 2010.  I have now been happily attending F.B.I. meetings for two years.  I enjoyed attending the F.B.I. meetings and seeing all of the kind, friendly faces, with everyone’s inspiring, happy, and positive attitudes.  I always felt so welcome and I left the meetings feeling energized.  Although I was too shy to get up and sing, I remember one of my favorite F.B.I. events was karaoke.  I also love hearing Ron welcome everyone with an enthusiastic “Welcome to F.B.I.!”  It wouldn’t be the same without this greeting.  The vision that Sue and Angela have for the new B.R.A.I.N. Center and having a place where people with brain injuries could live together in a supportive community is so inspired.  This is the way the world should be, and this brings tears to my eyes.  I feel the presence of God in their vision and at F.B.I. I’ve learned so much from Sue and Angela, as well as everyone at the F.B.I. meetings.  Hopefully, this will someday make me a better speech therapist, as it has already made me a better person.

My Story
Written by Ron McGill as told by Ray Hillard


Ray Hilliard is father of three, a Navy Veteran, and a survivor of a traumatic brain injury, but most of all, Ray is an inspiration.  He is one of the happiest, most patient, funny, and nicest people that I know.  In spite of Ray’s medical situations and T.B.I., he gets up at 5am and walks 5 miles daily.  Born July 24, 1960 in St. Louis, MO where Ray spent his first ten years of life, Ray and his family later moved to Chicago, IL.  The son of a grade school teacher, his mother also played the piano and gave a sermon on the radio in Joliet, IL.  Ray’s father was a minister.  He has two sisters and a brother, two of which live in Atlanta, GA, the other is a psychiatrist living in Los Angeles.  Ray admits that growing up in MO and IL was a little scary for him because of all the gang activity in the area. Nevertheless, Ray worked in the community getting his first job as a paperboy, his second at a local McDonald’s, and, later, he worked in the Sears Tower doing inventory.  He also played basketball (his favorite sport) and baseball in school.


At 19, Ray joined the Navy and went to boot camp in the Great Lakes area.  He became an FTG specialist, which is to say, he worked on radar systems!  He also made it to the prestigious rank of First Class.


Click HERE to read more…

After My Accident

By Jim Schaeffer


On July 30, 2011 I was in a bicycle accident in Malibu.  I was riding downhill and hit gravel at 40mph.  I fell with the bicycle and landed on my right side and hit the back of my head.  I was taken to UCLA hospital by helicopter.  After a CT scan, emergency brain surgery was performed to remove the left bone flap to reduce the pressure inside the skull and allow my brain to swell without causing further damage.  I had a subdural hematoma and lesions to the left frontal and parietal lobes of my brain.  I spent the next two weeks recovering at UCLA.


On August 12, 2011, I was transferred from UCLA Hospital to Casa Colina Rehab in Pomona.  The goal was for me to get stronger and more stable.  At the time of the transfer to Casa Colina I was able to walk, to use all parts of my body, and to speak.  I had aphasia and was still stuck on work mode, but I was improving.  At Casa Colina I was initially stable but then I began to rapidly decline.  The sudden cause of my decline could not be identified.  I essentially became paralyzed on the right side of my body, I was wheel-chair bound, unable to speak clearly and very agitated.


Click HERE to read more…



Life After Stroke
Written by Ashley Remington as told by Ann Toney


My name is Ann Toney.  Two years ago (May 3, 2010), I had a stroke.  I was at work, doing escrow (where I was “number one”) and I began to feel “weird.”  My friend said, “I’m taking you to the emergency room right now!”  It’s a good thing that my friend took me to the hospital because I had a stroke; and if I didn’t go to the hospital, I would have died.  I was there for three days.  I didn’t talk to a lot of people but I knew what was going on around me.


After my stroke, the left side of my head hurt very bad!  After about a month my head stopped hurting.  I was sent to a hospital for only three weeks and I hated it there!  My friend took me back home to her house so that her brother would come over and help me, while she was at work.  Three different women (occupational therapist, speech language pathologist, and physical therapist) came to my friend’s house for a month.  Then, I went home and they continued to help me, until September 2010.  About a year and a half after my stoke, I felt better but I started getting mad, so my doctor gave me medicine that really helped me feel even better…and happier!


Click HERE to read more…

Recommended Resources

End of the Trail

Dan Rice
ISBN-10: 0982141912


Wounded, Trapped, and Voiceless:
All Things are Possible
Phyllis K. Klenk and Greta EmlingISBN-10: 9781615797073

Brain Spa: 8 Fun Games in 4 Brain
Encore and Ubisoft
PC CD-ROM Software









UCLA Health Systems: Vital Signs
Summer 2012, Volume 55
“Concussions are Brain Injuries and
Must be Taken Seriously”
Christopher Giza, M.D.

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