Right now, there are 160,000 British Columbians living with the impact of a brain injury.
Whether it’s caused by a concussion or a car accident, a stroke, tumour, trauma, or another cause, brain injury has a severe impact on a person’s life.
“Mine was a brain aneurysm, which happened in the year 2000,” says Andrew LeFort. “I’d just gotten home from work and I got this excruciating pain in my head.”
LeFort is one of the more than 800 people who were helped by the Victoria Brain Injury Society, or VIBS, last year alone.
“They come here very confused,” says Anna McLauchlan, manager of volunteers at VBIS. “Often their lives are falling apart in so many ways: relationships, financial, job, everything is falling apart, and here, when they can just find out what is going on, and how to cope with that, it’s a life-changer.”
LeFort learned about VBIS a few years after his injury.
“When you talk to someone who understands your challenges,” says LeFort “it’s such a great relief.”
VBIS runs with just eight staff members, and around 90 volunteers. The centre and its programs are invaluable.
“We’ve got classes, there’s drop in, there’s all sorts of activities… everything to help them find their way to heal, and find their new brain, and find their new life,” says McLauchlan.
Don Anderson is board president of VBIS, and points out that “it’s not like you broke your arm, where the break is pretty much the same for everyone. Brain injury affects the brain in different ways.”
Anderson works hard to raise awareness and funding for the non-profit centre.
“We serve people who generally are not covered by insurance,” says Anderson, “or they don’t have other means of funding, so we provide our services for free.”
You can support the vital work done by the Victoria Brain Injury Society’s fundraising gala on Saturday November 3.