Achieving Beyond Brain Injury
2022 Achieving Beyond Brain Injury Recipient - Connor, Mildmay ON
“I found that though times can be tough a positive outlook and helping those struggling or in need makes a bad situation much better.” This quote from Connor truly shows us all how Connor navigates daily, and we can imagine with a massive heart on his sleeve.
Connor suffered a major concussion while playing hockey in 2019. Connor was unable to string words together, comprehension of conversations was affected, and daily tasks were no longer everyday basic tasks. Connor was unable to attend school and suffered greatly from post-concussion syndrome. His family suffered the loss of his father during this time as well, which compounded his symptoms. Connor persevered and finally started to regain previous losses only to be re-concussed.
Throughout the last few years, while still getting better, Connor has still found the strength and time to give back to his community with volunteering, fundraising and brain injury education.
Connor’s experiences have driven his passion to work in healthcare, hoping that he one day will be able to help those struggling just as he did and make their experience as smooth as possible. Connor will be attending Fanshawe College for Pre-Health.
Connor, we’re so proud to be able to introduce you as one of our 2022 Achieving Beyond Brain Injury Scholarship recipients! We wish you all the best!
Achieving Beyond Brain Injury Scholarship Recipient – Helaina, Toronto, ON
It’s with great pleasure to introduce Achieving Beyond Brain Injury Scholarship Recipient, Helaina!
On Christmas Day 2019, Helaina was admitted to Sick Kids Hospital unconscious and intubated. It was later discovered that Helaina suffered from a very serious and rare auto-immune disease in which antibodies attacked her brain. Helaina showed incredible resilience through many tests, treatments and eventually rehabilitation where she learned how to walk, speak and read again. Helaina finally was able to go home at the end of April 2020, resume her grade 11 year and achieve a near 95% average!
Helaina has shown great dedication to the hospitals who helped her so much. She selflessly donates her time to brain injury research at Sick Kids and plans to continue giving back to Holland Bloorview by volunteering. Helaina will be attending Toronto Metropolitan University to achieve a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce-Business Management.
Helaina, thank you for your dedication to the Brain Injury community and we wish you all the best in the future!
Achieving Beyond Brain Injury Scholarship Recipient – Shane, Toronto, ON
It’s an honour to introduce Shane as an Achieving Beyond Brain Injury Scholarship recipient! When reading Shane’s scholarship submission, two parts really brought smiles to our faces. Shane wrote “My experience in the hospital gave me a unique perspective, to take it one step at a time.” and “The story and the scars that come with it (ABI) are just another part of me now.” It’s incredible when a young person has so much perspective, and we thank Shane for positively educating everyone he encounters about brain injury.
Shane was just months into his Grade 9 year when a sinus infection infiltrated his brain. Shane had to have a craniectomy to remove fluid around his brain that was caused by the sinus infection. Shane was transferred to Holland Bloorview where he learned how to walk again and made many connections with other kids with similar injuries. Shane was able to go home and resume school after 10 weeks of being in hospitals. He had a prosthetic skull replacement while in his grade 10 year. With all his time spent in hospital, Shane was concerned that he would not graduate with his classmates, but with sheer determination Shane proudly graduated this year with his class!
We congratulate Shane as he heads to OCAD to pursue Digital Futures!
Achieving Beyond Brain Injury Scholarship Recipient – Lauren, Newmarket, ON
Achieving Beyond Brain Injury Scholarship recipient Lauren is no stranger to grabbing opportunities to help in any way that she can. Lauren is actively involved in multiple clubs and committees at school, as well as being an active participant in a Multiple Sclerosis Teen Support Group. After losing her ability to walk and battling extreme fatigue, Lauren switched hospitals to Sick Kids and was diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis in August of 2021. Lauren was hospitalized and received intravenous therapies to help start her recovery and was later transferred to Holland Bloorview where she participated in physical and occupational therapies. Lauren is currently participating in a medical trial that’s being run by Sick Kids and will hopefully be a part of a treatment that will not only help herself but other kids who’re yet to be diagnosed. Lauren has said that her medical journey has helped her become a stronger person and created a passion to help others in the MS community and those who live with disabilities.
Lauren, we congratulate you and know that you’ll be an incredible advocate, we wish you all the best at McMaster University as you study Social Science.
Achieving Beyond Brain Injury Scholarship Recipient – Jacquelyn, Halifax, NS
2022 Achieving Beyond Brain Injury Scholarship recipient Jacquelyn will be attending St. Francis Xavier University in the fall. She will be attaining her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and attributes her career goals to the nurses that showed positivity and kindness to her after she suffered a stroke.
In 2019, just two weeks after graduating high school, Jacquelyn had returned home from jogging and was hit with the worst headache imaginable. Headaches were something that Jacquelyn had been struggling with for the previous three years and was seeing a Neurologist at the time. Unfortunately, no scans were ever done, and she was told that she was most likely suffering from post-concussion symptoms or migraines. Within minutes of this unimaginable pounding headache, Jacquelyn had lost the movement in her arms and legs, and she had lost the ability to speak or respond. Her mom called 911 and she was rushed to the hospital where it was discovered that Jacquelyn had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke due to a ruptured AVM. After an 8.5 hour long emergency brain surgery, and two and a half weeks in the hospital, Jacquelyn was able to go home. Jacqueline has worked very hard and was able to upgrade her marks in 2021 which gave her the extra she needed to apply to Nursing.
Jacquelyn, we know that you’ll be a strong advocate for your patients, spreading awareness, and will have a beautifully unique ability to connect with your patients which will be life changing for them. We wish you all the best in the future!
Achieving Beyond Brain Injury Scholarship Recipient – Sarah, Toronto, ON
While attending summer camp after her ninth-grade year, Sarah went into cardiac arrest while hanging out in her cabin with some of her cabin mates. Fortunately for Sarah, one of her roommates knew how to apply CPR and ultimately saved her life. Sarah was flown to Sick Kids and her family faced the unknown if or when Sarah would wake up from a coma. Sarah woke up after three days but with great deficits, as she had suffered an anoxic brain injury from resuscitation. She could no longer recognize her own Mom or remember her previous weeks at camp. Sarah was transferred to Holland Bloorview for rehabilitation. Sarah considers herself very lucky in her recovery and was quick to recognize that many of the kids she was in programs with would not recover from their ABI’s like she had. With that inspiration Sarah has done tremendous volunteer work within her school. She was overwhelmingly involved in the Tikva Club which strives to provide enlightenment about the lives and challenges of those living with disabilities and creates safe and fun activities for young people living with disabilities. This was so incredibly important during COVID. Sarah was also selected to be a part of her school’s Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) program. This is where Sarah excelled and was able to mentor a younger student. Sarah also spearheaded an educational assembly between her school and Holland Bloorview, in which students were able to learn about living with disabilities.
Sarah, we’re so proud to name you as a 2022 Achieving Beyond Brain Injury Scholarship recipient, and we wish you all the best as you head to Queen’s University and start your Concurrent Education Degree in the Arts.