Newsletter – May 2011

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May 2011 Newsletter
Tim’s story
Message from our Founder
Dear Friends,


As spring is in full force we are experiencing more relaxation time, more time to get outdoors, time to have bbq’s and time to connect with others over coffee. However as all good things happen we also experience sadness when we lose our friends with brain injuries. On Good Friday, April 22, 2011, Hank Zavaleta left us. I have included a little tribute to him in the newsletter along with a tribute to another friend, Nancy Martin. Nancy left us on May 18th, 2011. We learn how to live when we reflect on our friends who never asked “why me.” Both of these friends took on their disease – either a brain tumor or a stroke – with courage. We will miss them both deeply.


On May 12, Dr. Larry Schutz presented to the F.B.I. group regarding the importance of self therapy. As a professional I have always told my clients that one or two hours a week is not going to help the recovery unless the client takes on the task of therapy as a “job.” One of our survivors, Suzie Strichard, has always been one to take on her rehab as her job. She has been working hours each day on her speech, her walking and her stretching to get the best out of her body and brain. This is what Dr. Schutz highlighted in his talk. For more information about his program go to


On May 19th, Toni Westerdale, a Pilates certified instructor, taught us how to stretch, bend and balance our bodies both using a chair in sitting and in standing. The elements of breathing were emphasized. Ms. Westerdale is an employee at Los Alamitos Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy in Los Alamitos. She can be reached for a private, one to one class at (562) 431-6004.


The mind and the body is something we at B.R.A.I.N. emphasize. We believe in Dr. John Medina’s book called “BRAIN RULES.” For more about this excellent book, read on in the article below.


Thank you for all your support.


“The purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be honorable, to be compassionate. It is, afterall, to matter, to count for something, to have a made a difference that you have lived at all.” Leo Rosten



Angela Mandas, MA

Speech Language Pathologist






nancy smiling

Goodbye to Our Friend, Nancy Martin


Nancy left this earth on Wednesday May 18th. She was a member of our Friends of Brain Injury (FBI) group, the devoted wife of 54 years to Guy Martin, dedicated mother to Susan and Tom, and adoring grandmother. She was spunky, talented, witty, and determined. Nancy suffered her first stroke 10 years ago and a second one just 4 years ago. She triumphed when she regained her communication skills and was tickled pink when she was able to write a birthday card for her older sister in Pennsylvania. Nancy was loved by her students and the faculty when she was a special education and regular education teacher. She loved to travel and laugh. She loved to dance and to sing at church. She suffered her third and fourth stroke while attending a luncheon at Speech and Language Development Center. She was awake and alert until the Lord called her to His home. She loved Guy, Susan, Tom and her grandchildren very much. WE loved her too and we will miss her terribly.  

tim and maria My Story by Tim Price tim 


My name is Tim Price. I am a 50 year old stroke survivor. Almost seven years ago, I rode my bicycle to the office, like I did everyday back then. Shortly after, during a meeting, I experienced dizziness and slumped down on the table. A fluke dissection of my carotid artery led to a left-brain stroke and caused major brain damage. At the time, I was healthy and active, happily married and busy with my career as a Marine Biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service. After the stroke, I couldn’t speak, walk, use my right hand or foot, but I was lucky. I was alive and had a wonderful support system in my family and friends.


My wife Maria and I live in the California Heights Historic District of Long Beach with our three cats Diego, Leonardo, and Bugatti. I volunteer in our community. Every Thursday morning, I pick up litter in our neighborhood as part of Clean Streets ( I am on the Board, as Treasurer, of the California Heights Neighborhood Association, the largest historic district in Long Beach.


I attend a weekly support group meeting of the Stroke Association of Southern California, Long Beach Chapter. This program is designed to help stroke survivors and their families cope with life changes after a stroke. I have learned about new activities, clinical trials and different therapies to explore for my ongoing recovery. I represent the Stroke Association Long Beach Chapter through hospital visits. I go to Long Beach Memorial Medical Hospital and visit stroke survivors in their room to offer support, encouragement and resources for them, their family, and caregivers.


I attend the gym at the Center for Active Aging and Kinesiology Clinic which is located at CSULB inside the blue pyramid. There I see a personal trainer two times a week who is trained in kinesiology therapy. One day a week I focus on my lower body and the other day I focus on my upper body. Afterwards, I get on an Exercycle for 45 minutes. The Center for Active Aging and Kinesiology Clinic just started spinning class twice a week which I also enjoy.


Weekly, I take Pilates and Gyrotonic sessions because they help me keep my affected arm and hand stretched and moving.  These sessions help to increase my overall strength, coordination, and flexibility.  Whether at the gym, Book Club or B.R.A.I.N. (Brain Rehabilitation And Injury Network), I like to keep busy. I enjoy planting and tending to my organic vegetable garden. I like to travel. I have made several trips to visit family in Paris, France, walked on the Mendenhall Glacier during a cruise to Alaska, got soaked by Niagara Falls (Canadian side) and swam with the green sea turtles in Akumal Bay, Mexico.


aquarium 2011

Friends of Brain Injury : Day at the Aquarium of the Pacific



At our weekly meetings, we discussed planning to visit this wonderful aquarium in our community. So, we set a date and made plans to spend 2 glorious hours walking around and exploring the beauty of the sea. We had a total of 37 people attend.


In this photo, back row: Marilou, Leslie, Jana, Tim, Brian, Julie, Amanda, Art, Rachel, Marvin’s friend, and his daughter, Cassandra. Second row: Angela, Susie, Linda, Stacey, Nancy, Guy, Kathleen, Carl, On the floor: Brittany, Irene’s son, Irene, Sinjin, Marvin and his grandson.




Tribute to Hank Zavaleta


Fire Captain Zavaleta began his career with the Long Beach Fire Department on April 26, 1986. He held the positions of Firefighter and Paramedic before being promoted to Fire Captain. In May 2003, he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme grade III, which was determined to be an occupational exposure. Hank’s greatest position in life was Husband and Father to his wife Cris and daughters Noelle, 20 and Jessica, 18. He devoted much of his time with UCLA and Cranium Crusaders. He started a Men’s support group at his church. He was always giving back to others. He had spoken to other survivors of brain tumors and brain injuries. He never gave up. He left us on Good Friday, April 22, 2011. He celebrated life to the fullest and those who have known him will never be the same.



Message from Founder, Susan Rueb
Dear B.R.A.I.N. Friends,


May seems to have come and gone so swiftly. I was fortunate enough to accompany my husband and our church group on a wonderful trip to Greece and Turkey to trace the historical journey of the 1st Century Apostle Paul. We visited Athens, Istanbul, Mykonos, Santorini and the Island of Patmos. Of course, I had B.R.A.I.N. brochures always in hand and I must say that brain injury is sustained worldwide and B.R.A.I.N. can now be classified as “international.” While we were on our trip, our dear friend, Nancy Martin passed peacefully away after yet another stroke.  She has been a faithful supporter and participant in FBI since the very beginning. Her service is planned for Friday, June 3, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at Cornerstone Church in Long Beach, 1000 N. Studebaker Rd. in Long Beach. We will miss our dear Nancy, and will continue to love and support Guy and Susan.


To follow up on some contacts made at the Orange County Veterans Mental Health Conference in March in Anaheim, I was able to go to Gardena and meet Shawn Trujillo who is part of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne. His dramatic story of how he sustained his brain injury will be coming out in a future newsletter or brochure. Shawn has now attended FBI and we are happy to have him as a member of FBI.


Connecting with families through the website has been a joy. Last Saturday, I met David and Ilan Ashkenazi from West L.A. Elan, 18, along with his mother and brother were hit in a crosswalk when someone ran a red light in Santa Barbara in 2007.  Ilan was not expected to live let alone walk or talk.  He is doing all of that and more.  We hope that he will attend FBI soon and hopefully their family will start their own chapter for FBI there in West Los Angeles.


I am speaking at the Huntington Beach Rotary Club on Thursday, June 2 about B.R.A.I.N. and its vision for a community here in Southern California.  Brochures and books will be given out and a powerpoint will be shown to help those in attendance to understand the vision.


We are working on a new marketing booklet with various stories and pictures of our brain-injured friends. This booklet will be used for potential donors and interested groups who could possibly help us build our community. Thanks to all of you who are participating.


June 18, 2011 is the date for our Home Care Giver Seminar that we are having from 8:30am-11:30am at 1000 N. Studebaker in Long Beach.  This event is specifically for those families who need help in caring for their brain-injured loved one at home. We believe that this is a way we can give individual assistance to our families.


August will mark our annual BBQ for B.R.A.I.N. at El Dorado Park on Studebaker Rd. in Long Beach.  More details will follow for that, but please mark your calendars for a fun time to spend with our B.R.A.I.N. families.


Please stay tuned as we plan summer activities for FBI.  I know you will all want to participate.


Blessings to all of you,








Hope to see you at our weekly F.B.I. Meetings every Thursday in June from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at 1000 N. Studebaker Road in Long Beach in the Cornerstone Church Worship Cafe.


Angela Mandas
B.R.A.I.N. Newsletter editor

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