Brain injury changed my life in an instant and the Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA) helped me pick up the pieces.
Prior to my accident, I held the position of Director of Information and Communication Technology at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. I was responsible for a staff of eighty-five individuals. I was a successful businessperson having reached the pinnacle of my career. People respected me; people looked up to me.
On June 6th, 2007 my life was forever changed. I was run over by a 55-passenger bus in downtown Toronto. The accident left me with several impairments, the worst being my Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The effects of my TBI were severe vision loss, major cognitive function loss, and significant depression issues. I was five months in an acute care hospital and almost a year in a rehab hospital.
After I was discharged from hospital, I took advantage of some of the services offered by OBIA. These services included the Peer Mentoring Service, the Book Library, support services and most importantly, the OBIA Training programs. It is here that I received training in brain injury and learned what it is, and how to most effectively deal with it and its symptoms.
When I returned home, it was very difficult for me. I struggled to find meaning with my current life. I was a Healthcare Executive and was used to the fast pace of the Healthcare industry. My neuropsychologist recommended I needed to find my new ‘self’ and she suggested that I consider volunteering. I volunteered at a couple of places but the work was not meaningful. The next volunteer opportunity was with OBIA. In the beginning, I wore the same attire for OBIA that I used to wear at Mount Sinai, so the staff would jokingly refer to me as Mr. Shirt and Tie guy, this made me feel important. At OBIA, I now have the position of IT Coordinator, with responsibility for all computers, the network, the servers, backup, telephones and anything else you can touch! The staff at OBIA value me, they continually encouraged me to work with my strengths, not deficits. I even have my own office at OBIA. I feel like I have a career again, and with being part of the OBIA Team, I once again have a work community.
I have found a rewarding position at OBIA. They understand my brain injury and provide the flexible hours I need. OBIA also accepts my need for support from my Rehab Therapist, particularly to organize projects and stay focussed on tasks. Most importantly, my role at OBIA provides me the confidence in knowing that my skills and knowledge are still valued. My brain injury did not take that away. I am once again part of a team that appreciates my input and values my business sense. Friendship, mutual respect, belonging and a sense of achievement are the most important benefits that I gain ever day. With OBIA, my purpose in life is fulfilled once again!
Learn more about Ontario Brain Injury Association