Survivor Highlight: Albert Chan

Hello there. My name is Albert J. Chan, and I am a hemorrhagic bleed, or stroke survivor. During a Business Ethics lecture 4.5 years ago, I suffered a splitting headache in the middle of class. Fortunately, my students called 911, and saved my life. However, I lost my teaching position and its concomitant health benefits; but my wife providentially received a call from her former employer, offering her to resume her role as a rehabilitation nurse, and myself as a patient for a nominal fee. It was a no-brainer to return to Southern California, especially as I didn’t have much of a brain left. Our family then began the long road of recovery, which coincided with our finding Brain Rehabilitation And Injury Network (B.R.A.I.N.) in Cypress, CA.

An out-of-town friend and I saw B.R.A.I.N.’s Founder/President, Sue Rueb, on the cover of Biola University’s alumni magazine and he told me that, “he would not leave Los Angeles” until he got me in contact with this support group. I met Sue and Angela, and many other friends of traumatic brain injury, and have not stopped coming since. B.R.A.I.N. provides so many rehabilitative therapies and services long after insurance runs out. This year my assigned Brain Cell Connector, Jerry, takes me on a weekly basis to work out at a disability gym. Jerry was a special-needs teacher, and I am a special-needs adult, so we are a good fit; we both like sports and reading. I help him with his speaking; and he assists me with my writing, so that you can understand this newsletter piece.

B.R.A.I.N. also had a chef, Colt Munchoff, for the Cooking with Colt classes, who taught us how to make chorizo chili a few months back. I’ve already taught my wife how to make it, and will soon provide the dish for a friend and his two sons, so they can have a “boys movie-night in,” and his spouse can take a “ladies night out.”

Our weekly Friends of Brain Injury (F.B.I.) meetings are so packed because the volunteers usually outnumber the head injury survivors. The former are so inspiring to me that they have encouraged me, in turn, to give back to the community. A local hospital has created a position for me, as a stroke survivor volunteer, to help those with head injuries establish goals and find resources to get better… essentially to do individually what B.R.A.I.N. seeks to do as a network and community. Thank you for your support!

Albert Chan