Newsletter – May 2012

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The 3 C’s…

Caring, Communicating and Connecting

Dear Friends,


In the May issue of B.R.A.I.N.’s Newsletter we are addressing the second theme of the three part series, “The 3 C’s: Caring, Communicating and Connecting.” Webster defines communication as “the imparting or  inter exchange of thoughts.”  As a Speech Language Pathologist, it means so much more.  There are brain-injured adults who cannot speak or utter a distinguishing sound, but they can communicate love with their eyes.  Speech communication allows one’s mind to be heard.  When someone has a stroke affecting their left temporal lobe, language becomes significantly impaired.  In their mind, they know what they wants to say, but cannot find or retrieve the words  to express themselves.


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TT2012 Short Flyer

THINK TANK 2012 Recap

– Sue Rueb, Founder & Director/ B.R.A.I.N.


Think Tank 2012, B.R.A.I.N.’s third annual brain symposium, was a terrific success. The two-day conference was held at The Grand Event Center in Long Beach, California on April 27th and 28th. The atmosphere was buzzing with learning, creativity, warmth, and community. The multiple workshops and plenary sessions featured 15 speakers within their respective fields relating to the issue of brain injury. A beautiful buffet lunch was skillfully presented on Friday, with a working lunch offered on Saturday. Attendees could choose their seminar and take their lunch along to hear exciting and important information about brain injury. The conference also featured a number of organizations, facilities and services that all relate to brain injury, as booths were set up for the attendees to visit.

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Comments on THINK TANK 2012


I just want to say that it was an honor to be in the presence of such talent.  Thanks for the opportunity, and I look forward to building long lasting fruitful partnerships with each of you.  Please let me know if I can ever be of any assistance to you.

Be well and stay safe!

– James J. Schickel

Sergeant Major, USMC (Ret)

Local Interagency Network Coordinator

CA Department of Veterans Affairs

Veterans Services Division






As I sit here and sort through my thoughts, I still have a very important question I hold deep in my heart  – “Why Me?”

Today, I’m attending the “Think Tank 2012” Symposium.  It is presented by the Brain Rehabilitation and Injury Network (B.R.A.I.N.).  Here, we are received by so  many friends sharing their knowledge and experience about our circumstances.  Plus, I’m meeting others dealing with many things I encounter each and every day.  I was so amazed that these individuals cared and understood how I could improve myself.  I discovered the question “Why Me?” doesn’t truly need an answer right now.  But taught me that it’s now important to ask myself “How I can be the best person I can be?”

The friends I met at this symposium gave me so much hope  and information I can, and  will, use in learning to accept, deal,  handle and answer the question of “How I can and will be a better person today and all the days ahead of me.  As well as, more importantly, I’m continuing to learn to just be happy with the many steps I’m taking in my new journey in life.
Tom Olvera, F.B.I. Survivor






What B.R.A.I.N. Means to Me

By Geremy Uhl

My name is Geremy Uhl and I recently started volunteering at F.B.I. Before I get started, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone associated with B.R.A.I.N. because without YOU we wouldn’t have this incredible organization with such a powerful vision.  So . . . thank you!


Plain and simple, B.R.A.I.N. has impacted my life in an incredibly profound way.  On May 1st, the Tuesday right after THINK TANK 2012, I attended my first F.B.I. meeting.  I’m not sure if just saying it was “inspirational” really even begins to describe how amazing this experience was for me. Without much knowledge about the organization, I sat in the back of the room while watching and listening to numerous people stand up and give testimonies about how much of an impact the symposium and B.R.A.I.N. have had on their lives.  With everyone pouring out their hearts I was having a very difficult time holding back tears.  However, I had a peace in my heart and a smile on my face because I knew that I was meant to be there.

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The F.B.I. Experience from the Eyes of a New Volunteer

by Samantha Gardner


As an aspiring physician, I was excited about the opportunity to attend F.B.I. and volunteer with B.R.A.I.N. to get insight into the “other side” of brain injuries . . . the road to recovery.  I have been truly touched and inspired by how resilient and strong so many of the people I have met at F.B.I. are and how much hope they have.  So many of the people I have met are willing to share their stories with me, providing me valuable knowledge and experience that I know I will take with me when I become a physician.  I will take with me their stories of when doctors thought no more progress could be made, but they exceeded all expectations; when the diagnosis was grim, and they defied predicted outcomes.  I will especially remember the cases where the doctors fell short, yet the survivor forges on despite the odds.  I am gaining valuable knowledge about the many facets of brain injury and patient care beyond the acute stage.


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In My Own Words

By Robert


Not that far back, there was a big bang, not really, just a CVA, which is the beginning of my story.  There was no bang, just an ischemic stroke: A blockage of the flow of blood to parts of the brain. Part of the brain dies and the damage is done.  I was very fortunate a friend recognized the signs of a stroke, over the phone, and he and another friend (conference called) talked me into going to the hospital before I lost all movement.  That morning I was losing balance, falling over, slurring speech, losing movement in my right arm and hand.  I drove myself to the hospital.  I barely managed the steps to the ER because my right leg had ceased to work.  The admitting nurse asked me what my problem was.  His face went to “OMG,” and he told me to get inside right away.


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Recommended Readings:

Conversations with the Voiceless
John Wessells
ISBN-10: 0310257662

BrainFit: 10 minutes a Day for a Sharper Mind and Memory

Corinne Gediman
ISBN-10: 1401602231

B.R.A.I.N. Moves to Its    New Office in Cypress

We are excited to move into our new office at 5656 Corporate Avenue in Cypress, California in June.  We plan to paint, carpet and move the furniture by the end of June.  We welcome all of our supporters to come visit us at our Open House on July 14th between noon and 5:00 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres will be served.


The proposed arrival of a new office is already bringing many exciting opportunities for B.R.A.I.N. due to our space to house them. We are planning a reading group for stroke survivors, exercise classes for survivors and the local community, therapy sessions of all types, CPR classes, computer skills classes, resume writing instruction, and more.