Thank you, Senator Mark Kelly
Dear Senator Kelly—
My name is Laura Johnson. As a brain injury survivor, I want to personally thank you for joining the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force on September 29, 2021.
Your involvement further validates the importance of their work, including raising awareness of the growing number of people with brain injuries – 2.5 million sustain a traumatic brain injury each year, with more than 5 million living with permanent long-term disabilities as a result, as well as countless others who have ongoing post-injury symptoms.
My brain injury occurred 14 years ago, when I blacked out at home and fell, hitting my head on marble flooring. Instantly my life changed. I had never heard of a TBI before. My life had to start over. I have a Bachelor of Science in Small Business/Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University in Boston. At the time of my injury, I was completing my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design/Architecture from The Art Institute of Phoenix.
After my brain injury, I was fortunate to continue my degree with the help of Barrow Neurological Institute and Vocational Rehabilitation. However, the TBI proved too difficult for me to work full-time. The loss of career and life as I knew it was difficult; 14 years later, I’m still adjusting to “the new me.”
For more than a decade, I looked everywhere for free resources and support. When I discovered the non-profit, the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona, my life improved dramatically. I am a lucky one. I have now worked for this organization for over three years and am currently their Survivor Engagement Coordinator.
On a personal note: I also direct the organization’s statewide Unmasking Brain Injury project and had the opportunity to meet both you and your wife two years ago at one of our events in Phoenix. While she was moved by the display and our efforts, I found her to be incredibly inspiring. In fact, her support of my personal story and our project has been one of the highlights of my experience.
Senator Kelly, thank you again for doing what’s right for Arizona. Your involvement with the Brain Injury Task Force means so much to me and other survivors of brain injury, perhaps more than you will ever know.
ABOUT BRAIN INJURY ALLIANCE OF ARIZONA
The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona (BIAAZ) is the only statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of adults and children with all types of brain injuries through prevention, advocacy, awareness and education. BIAAZ also houses the Arizona Brain Health Resource Center, a collection of educational information and neuro-specific resources for brain injury survivors, caregivers, family members and professionals.
What began in 1983 as a grassroots effort has grown into a strong statewide presence, providing valuable life-long resources and community support for individuals with all types of brain trauma at no charge.
The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona:
- Works with Congressional Brain Injury Task Force
- Houses Arizona Brain Health Resource Center
- Hosts Statewide Opioid Use Disorder & Cognitive Impairment Workgroup
- Has Statewide Opioid Use Disorder & Cognitive Impairment Response team with peer support, training, and family wraparound services
- Facilitates Brain Health Advisory Council
- Manages statewide Neuro Info-Line: 888-500-9165