Slides from Survive Strive Thrive 2016:
Ellie Ennas: Clearing the Dandelions
Evelyne and Rick Early: With this ring, I thee wed
Janelle Breese Biagioni: Grief: The Missing Link
Dr Catherine Mateer: Coming Full Circle
Survive to Thrive 2015
He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how. (Nietzche)
Brain injury can be a hard topic to discuss. When a person’s life is radically changed from a traumatic brain injury, there can be a lot of pain, bitterness and grief for what was lost. Brain injury is often followed by loss of relationships, employment, self-worth; a spiral into addiction and homelessness is often the outcome. So when you put together a room full of people who have suffered a brain injury, or their family members, you would expect hard conversations and a sense of loss. This was certainly not the case at the recent event called Survive to Thrive: Restoring Life after Brain Injury. With over 100 people in attendance, speakers shared their personal journey of recovery from a traumatic brain injury. All of them had suffered physically but stated that their emotional struggles to face the losses in their lives outweighed the physical challenges. However all of them talked about recovery being a path of optimism, growth and the opportunity to set new goals. It was powerful to listen to individuals who had suffered tremendously speak about acceptance, moving on, having hope for the future and gratitude for their journey. Derrick Forsyth was living a life of crime and addiction when he sustained his brain injury. It was while he was in jail that he realized that the support that was being offered to him as a result of his brain injury was his big opportunity to make a change in his life. With the support of The Cridge Brain Injury Program, Derrick is clean and sober, is employed in a job he loves and has dreams and aspirations for a future of giving back to his community.
Survive to Thrive was initiated last year by The Cridge Brain Injury Program as an opportunity to engage with the community about the issues surrounding brain injury. It was held in the activity room of The Cridge Centre Senior’s Village and hosted about 30 participants. This year the goal was to make it available to a larger audience of UVIC students, front line caregivers, family members and those affected by brain injury. In partnership with UVIC, the event was held at the Bob Wright Centre on the UVIC campus and hosted over 100 participants from the community. Her Honour, the Lieutenant Governor of BC, Judith Guichon, also attended and spoke about her interest in and support of brain injury programs. Other distinguished speakers included Debbie and Captain Trevor Greene, Greg Goldberg, Robin Bienvenu, Derrick Forsyth and Dr. Collette Smart. Each of them spoke with humour and grace about the challenges associated with brain injury and also the need for a team approach to support for the survivor. Brain injury survivors need champions to walk with them on their journey, help them access the services they need, and someone to laugh with them through the hard times.
This conference, now renamed Survive — Strive — Thrive will be taking place again in May 2016. An exciting line up of speakers and partners are already being lined up. Watch this space for more information.