Individuals from across New York State who survived a traumatic brain injury gathered with their families, caregivers, and other advocates inside the Legislative Office Building in Albany for a day of visibility and action.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and those at the rally organized by The Brain Injury Association of New York State, showed up and spoke out! Living Resources was well-represented, with more than 20 members seated in the front three rows.

After several lawmakers came to the podium, affirming their commitment to the Brain Injury community, participants in our Structured Day Program got up in front of the crowd to sing along with Cristabelle Braden’s emotional and awareness-raising song “Different Kind of Warrior.” You can watch the full performance on our Facebook page by clicking here.

After the applause died down, survivors and caregivers stepped to the podium one by one to share their personal stories, often detailing both tragedy and triumph.

Caleb Brunick, a participant in our Brain Injury Program, was one of those speakers. Back in 2021, while Caleb was pursuing his education in Estonia, a vehicle he was traveling in was involved in a serious crash. It collided head-on with a tractor trailer that had jackknifed. Caleb was in a coma and on life support for one month and remained in the hospital for another three months after he regained consciousness. He endured multiple surgeries and the amputation of his finger. Through medical treatment and intensive speech and physical therapy, he went from being unable to breathe, speak, or walk on his own to now being able to independently walk to the podium, stand behind it, and deliver a speech with eloquence and emotion.

“I attribute my subsequent achievements to an unwavering resolve. This resolve has propelled me to not be defined by that harrowing night, but to emerge stronger, both physically and mentally,” shared Caleb in his speech, “My philosophy is rooted in the belief that overcoming adversities, regardless of their nature, is a testament to human resilience and determination.”

Caleb successfully completed his Bachelor’s degree and says his focus is now on continued recuperation and advocacy. He wants to be a voice for those who have been silenced by their circumstances. He offered thanks to the medical professionals who have helped him on his journey and to his family, particularly his grandmother, mother and partner Elizabeth, who have stood by his side with unwavering support and love. He ended his speech with these inspiring words:

“One day I will be able to do it all. It’s rough, but I can’t do anything about it but work hard, hope, and keep strong. Keep faith in your heart!”