“Be bold enough to use your voice, brave enough to listen to your heart, and strong enough to live the life you’ve always imagined.”- Anonymous

The Brain Injury Advocacy Day in Albany gave the participants of Living Resources’ ABI structured day program and others the opportunity to listen to their hearts and use their voices so that they can live their lives to the fullest.

The event, which took place at the Well of the Legislative Office Building, was organized by the Brain Injury Association of New York State. Those in attendance advocated for the continued funding of brain injury services through the New York State Department of Health (DOH) Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Waiver Program. Started in 1995 and funded by Medicaid, recipients choose where in the community they wish to live, which services they want to receive, and the agency that will provide those services.

Proponents of the waiver included members of the New York State Legislature, brain injury survivors, and their families. Senator John Mannion, Chairman of the Senate Disabilities Committee, expressed the need to improve the quality of life for brain injury survivors through services and activities that bring dignity, respect, and equality, saying, “We need to ensure that everyone gets the services they need – and right now, there are too many obstacles and barriers.”

Many Living Resources Brain Injury Program participants took the podium to express gratitude that their service coordinator, transportation, and the programs they attend are all paid for by the TBI Waiver. Sarah shared that since her brain injury, she has had difficulty communicating, memory loss, and physical disabilities. Susan used a tablet app to communicate how her stroke affected her life. Jorelle shared that a car accident caused a brain injury which left her dependent on a wheelchair and affects her ability to communicate verbally. Brian said that after his stroke, the staff of Living Resources helped him to grow as an individual, recovering many of his previous skills, and discovering new abilities in art and self-advocacy. Andrew shared the story of his TBI diagnosis at the age of 25 resulting from brain tumors. Bobby said that a fall off his bike when he was five years old left him with a TBI, adding that although he struggles with memory and other cognitive impairments, “Just by looking at me, you may not know I have a brain injury.”

Living Resources Brain Injury Services offers a comprehensive treatment program for people with traumatic or acquired brain injuries. Learn more at https://livingresources.orgservices/brain-injury-services/