Newsletter – October 2011

October 2011
October Newsletter

B.R.A.I.N. October Newsletter

Live Healthy…Share Life…Shine!!!
Dear Friends of B.R.A.I.N.,

This month has started off with sadness for our community of Seal Beach. It is unimaginable to learn of such horror and to comprehend the details of the many lives that one person’s warped agenda affected. I am not going to compare the tragedy in Seal Beach with the tragedy of our Friends who have suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke, a traumatic brain injury, an inexcusable medical error causing an anoxic brain injury or a blast injury from a missile in Iraq. This message is not about which is more tragic. I want to focus on what we do about these situations instead.
In the August newsletter, I sent a message about volunteering. I am thrilled to announce that many volunteers have come forward and we have documented over 200 hours since the month of September. These selfless people wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. These cheerful givers walked dogs, cut grass, drove clients to therapy and appointments, and listened to one friend who does not get many visitors at his place of residence.
People get strength through bringing joy to others.
Mother Theresa of Calcutta stated:
There is a tremendous strength that is growing in the world through… sharing together, praying together, suffering together, and working together.”
I am proud to be a volunteer. There is no greater reward than extending that hand. I hope to lead others through my actions. It just takes an hour to do something without having to, to give of myself and the rest is gold.
With gentle thanks for extending your hand,
Angela Mandas, MA CCC
Speech Language Pathologist

F.B.I. Group Facilitator

My Story of Surviving
By: Barbara Quintas
My name is Barbara Quintas (aka Barb). On December 19, 2009 I was the passenger in a vehicle that was struck by a car from oncoming traffic. Our car slammed into a fire hydrant and a concrete light pole. I hit my head on the right side, my boyfriend and I slammed into the left side and I was knocked out. I was unconscious for 2 weeks. My brain was swollen and a large hematoma had to be removed. My head was shaved because they removed the left side of my skull. When I came to, I had no idea what was going on. I couldn’t speak ANYTHING! A month later they gave me the bone flap and I have 3 screws inside of my brain (forever). I was in Long Beach Memorial Medical Center for 3 months. My boyfriend and my 11month old son were FINE but I was fighting for my life.


I kept going to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center as an outpatient to learn to speak and use my right arm for, I think, 3 more months. When I got better they let me go and they gave me an application to Coastline Community College. Coastline did not accept me because I couldn’t really talk or read. I started working on my speech at CSUFullerton in the Communicative Disorders Department, 2 days a week for an hour a day. I wouldn’t give up and in November I asked the graduate students at CSUF to call Coastline to see if I could go back for a second interview. I was accepted and came back in January 2011, my first day of school. Everyday I’m improving more and more. Before Coastline, I practiced reading little kids books one page at a time and then I read longer books. Six months later, I kept reading Green Eggs and Ham and a month later I read it out loud to my 1 year old son! I kept on reading it more and more every night.


I volunteer at St Mary Medical Center in Long Beach every Friday. I help patients with physical and speech therapy, and share my stories about my accident and everything I did to get better. I still struggle finding words because I have aphasia, but I have come a long way! I can spell a lot better, I’m learning to read better, and I speak more clearly every day. I feel a lot better because I’m becoming an independent person and I’m more and more thankful every day.


It frustrates me that sometimes my two-year-old son can come up with a word before I can! I am determined to keep working on my struggles, though. I love my son Daniel, by the way, we are both learning everything and I’m going to go back to College even sooner then I graduate from Coastline.

I enjoy coming to B.R.A.I.N. and the F.B.I. meetings and have been going since last December 2010. I find that it is so pleasurable to be Friends. Just open minded, overly cheerful, and just Friends. I appreciate joining B.R.A.I.N. and meeting all the F.B.I. people and even newer people in B.R.A.I.N.!



Benefits of Being A Friend
“Friends encourage you to make healthy choices, whether it is exercising or seeing a doctor” says study author Julianne Holt-Lundstad, Ph.D.; an associate professor of psychology at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
Adults with strong relationships can expect to live 3.7 years longer than those without relationships, according to Dr. Holt-Lundstad.
So, interact with others, call someone, make plans and live life!

Volunteer Update
By: Amanda Alexander – Volunteer Coordinator


B.R.A.I.N. volunteers have always been a huge asset to this organization and they have been an important aspect to the weekly F.B.I. meetings, but since the beginning of September our volunteers have been going above and beyond the usual expectations volunteering over 200 hours of their time collectively.

They have not only been participating in the F.B.I. meetings, but they have also spent time with survivors outside of the meetings; such as going to the farmers market together, chatting over coffee, and visiting survivors that are not able to leave their homes. Our volunteers have also been spreading awareness about brain injury by handing out B.R.A.I.N. pamphlets and making chocolate candy brains.
Our volunteers have been so generous in donating their time to help the Boswith family, whose son, Grant has a brain injury. They have been walking their dogs, reading to Grant, doing some yard work, and assisting in some of Grant’s therapy sessions so that the family can spend their time and energy on getting Grant better.
Our volunteers have been so passionate about helping the members of B.R.A.I.N. that many of them are eager to do more! If you are interested in volunteering we need additional people to visit our survivors, to assist some of the families with various daily needs and we need more drivers to transport survivors to and from our meetings and events.
I want to thank all the volunteers for their dedication and enthusiasm for B.R.A.I.N. and I encourage anyone interesting in volunteering to contact me!
Amanda’s Email:

Being A Connector
By: Jessica Chee – Volunteer
My experience with my brain injury survivor, Stacey Kuriowa has been such a blessing to me. We have been meeting every month for either coffee at Starbucks, breakfast at Denny’s, or lunch at a favorite place of hers. Stacey has such a kind heart and I really admire her for her positive attitude. She is always smiling and laughing! We enjoy talking about life, friendships, family, common interests or just simply funny or interesting experiences we have had in the past. She seems to love to listen to my stories about friends or school, and I gladly share stories and laughter. Sometimes we will hit a wall in our conversation because of her aphasia, but I will give her time to think about what she is trying to say, and sometimes I guess and I can figure it out. If not, she decides to move on with the conversation.
I feel blessed to have her friendship! We will update each other all the time on what is new in our lives and what has been going on in the past week or so since we last talked. Stacey’s friendship has had a positive impact in my life and I feel that she appreciates my friendship as well!

F.B.I. VisitsThe Santa Monica Pier
By: Kathleen Gonzalez – Communications Coordinator




A beautiful, sunny day was the perfect backdrop for our trip to the scenic and historic Santa Monica Pier! We gathered our ‘Friends of Brain Injury’ group at Cornerstone Church and set off for a marvelous afternoon together! Our past remarkable speaker, Dan Rice, his lovely wife Jessica, and adorable son David met us underneath the iconic Santa Monica Pier sign. Dan started off our mini historical tour right by the sign and enlightened us on the fascinating history of Route 66. He shared about the development of his own shop on the pier to welcome all who made their treks across Route 66 to visit the end! We continued to walk along the bluff overlooking the sparkling Pacific Ocean as we soaked in the incredible stories Dan shared with us about the buildings, streets, and people who have enriched this historical area. We made our way to the pier later on our tour to see the highlight of our trip: Dan’s Route 66 Shop!

Everyone crowded around, checking out every detail, memorabilia, and merchandise in pure excitement! We were all so eager to continue asking questions, take pictures, and create memories! We even met a couple who just finished their own trip down Route 66; meeting Dan at his shop was an extra bonus for the end of their trip! We finished off our afternoon with delicious lunch on the pier and great conversations! We want to thank our Volunteer Coordinator, Amanda Alexander, for organizing such a successful trip! Dan was a fantastic “tour guide” and provided such a warm welcome and memorable experience! We are truly thankful to Dan, Jessica, and little David for taking us on a trip we will always cherish!







Santa Monica

Message From Our Founder


What a wonderful outing that the volunteers of B.R.A.I.N. planned and directed. Kathleen and Amanda truly led the group in an amazing day. I want to thank all of the drivers and volunteers who made the day a success.  Leaving this event in the hands of our able volunteers provided some well needed time for some strategic planning meetings and some personal time, as well. Thank you so much, Kathleen and Amanda for providing the leadership for this day trip.

The B.R.A.I.N. Awareness booklets just came in this past week. We have a newly created Fundraising/Marketing Team that will be taking these booklets out to prospective donors. Thanks to all who gave their time and stories which helped make these books so beautiful and informative.


Warmest regards,

Sue Rueb

B.R.A.I.N. Founder/President

Sue Photo (Flowers)

5267 Warner Ave, #306

Huntington Beach, California 92649
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In This Issue
Story of Surviving
Volunteer Update
Being A Connector
Santa Monica Trip
Founder Message





























































































































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B.R.A.I.N. | 5267 Warner Ave, #306 | Huntington Beach | CA | 92649