The BIA-NEws Feb 2010 by gabyion


									                      The BIA-NEws
   Official Newsletter of the Brain Injury Association of Nebraska—February, 2010
                     “Linking brain injury survivors across Nebraska”

                                             resources of benefit to survivors,
     Awareness Day at the Capitol            caregivers, and professionals.
             March 10, 2010
Join us in Lincoln on Wed., March 10,        In addition, Thursday we will be
2010, for our third annual Brain Injury      celebrating the BIG-N becoming the
Awareness Day at the Capitol.                BIA-NE by a fun social evening of
                                             dancing, a raffle, and light refreshments.
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. in Rm.
1023, followed by an informative             Please register in advance by March 12,
program from 9-10 a.m. We will then be       2010. Stipends are available to those in
able to witness the proclamation signing     need. We would like to see every
by the governor in the Werner Chamber        survivor be able to attend!
at 10:30 a.m. Afterwards, we will be
allowed to make legislative visits with          See for
senators from 11-12 noon.                      conference registration information.

For more information on how you can
participate in this important event,            HELMET REPEAL LEGISLATION
contact our new Nebraska director, Kate                        DEBATE
Jarecke, at or               By Kate Jarecke, Director BIA-NE
402-423-2463 (BINE).                         The Helmet Repeal Legislation, LB 200
                                             was debated for three days before the
                                             entire legislature after the
     BRAIN INJURY CONFERENCE                 Transportation Committee passed it out
              Networking                     of committee. This bill was introduced
           March 25-26, 2010                 last year by Sen. Charlie Janssen of
The fourth annual Nebraska Brain Injury      Fremont. After the third day, a motion
Conference will again be held at the         was filed that "bracketed" the
Midtown Holiday Inn in Grand Island on       legislation. This motion ceases debate
the last Thursday and Friday of March.       and allows the legislature to bring it up
                                             at a future date. Speaker Mike Flood
Three excellent keynote speakers will        announced that the bill will not get
offer valuable insights in how to deal       another chance if it is not deemed a
with brain injury, ranging from children     priority bill. Sen. Janssen has said he
and adults to those on the battlefront.      may make it his priority bill.
Several breakout sessions will inform us
of the latest therapeutic strategies and     The State Board of Health reports that
                                             before the helmet law went into effect in
                                             1989, Nebraska averaged 24.8
Coming soon: or 1-800-444-6443
                                  The BIA-NEws

motorcycle-related fatalities per year.          A Story for Valentine’s Day
Since then, the state average has been
reduced to 11.05 fatalities per year,         From imperfect lives, a perfect match
even though there are more cyclists on               by Cindy Lange-Kubick
the roads.
                                                Internet dating service made them a
Despite these figures, it appears that the        match. And Michele from Lincoln
legislators are evenly split on this helmet       showed up in the in-box of a man
issue. They need to hear from you. If                 named Dale from Omaha
you feel strongly about this legislation
please call 402-471-2311 and ask to            [March 29, 2009, reprinted with permission of
speak to your senator’s office or send                     Lincoln Journal-Star]
them an e-mail. To find your senator
and their e-mail address go to:               eHarmony thought they'd be good     together.
                                              She rode a bike. He rode a bike.
Many legislators believe this is a choice
issue, that government should not             He was hardworking. She was
mandate helmet use. However, the              hardworking.
BIA-NE believes that without certain
safeguards in place, repealing the            She had a passion. He had a passion.
helmet legislation would have
devastating consequences.                     So the Internet dating service made
                                              them a match. And a woman named
First, there must be a TBI Trust Fund         Michele from Lincoln showed up in the
established. Twenty-one states already        in box of a man named Dale from
have these funds established which            Omaha.
would allow TBI survivors and their
families to apply for grants for certain      Michele’s passion caught his eye, Dale
services.                                     Johannes says, sitting in the house his
                                              bike-riding, home-remodeling wife
Secondly, we need the Resource                owned before they met in 2005.
Facilitation legislation, LB 141, to be
passed. This would significantly help         It’s Thursday after work. Their daughter,
returning veterans who have suffered a        Ava is showing off her "Little Mermaid"
brain injury.                                 DVD. Baby Zachary is bouncing in his
                                              bouncy seat. Ginger, the German
And finally, Medicaid needs to be able to     shepherd, is whining in the backyard.
send patients that need specialized           Dale and Michele Johannes have been
neurobehavioral programs, which are           married almost three years.
not available in Nebraska, out of state
so that they get the programs they need.
                                  The BIA-NEws

They went to China to adopt Ava. Zach       “I had my first seizure at age 30,” she
came to them from Ethiopia.                 wrote to the bike-riding stranger. “It’s a
                                            long, long story.”
Three years. Two kids. One dog.
Her epilepsy. His traumatic brain injury.   She typed out some of the details. How
                                            she had 10 or 15 seizures a day and
"What are you most passionate about?"       how it took three years to find the right
That was Question 3 on the eHarmony         medication to get them under control.
Michele can’t remember exactly what         “There are worse things that can
she wrote. Something about working          happen to an individual,” she wrote. “It’s
with people with disabilities that don’t    all how you handle it I suppose.”
attract much public notice.
                                            Michele had been married when she got
Dale thought she might be talking about     sick, but her husband couldn’t deal with
traumatic brain injuries. He was in a car   her epilepsy. A few years after the
accident when he was 17. Broke a            divorce, friends convinced her to give
bunch of bones and smashed his head.        the dating service a shot.

He was in the hospital three months and     One month and that’s it, she told God.
couldn’t speak for six weeks. He had to     It took a week to find Dale.
relearn almost everything.
                                            “My life feels very ‘normal,’” she wrote
He did. And when he graduated from          on the second page of the e-mail. “I
college, he told himself he needed to       have had people not really want to be
help at least one other person who had      involved with me anymore when they
suffered like he had.                       found out I have epilepsy … if it is
                                            something that is bothersome to you, it’s
When he read Michele’s answer, he           okay with me.”
thought she might know something
about that.                                 Was she kidding?

Dale saved the letter she wrote             He answered her e-mail like this:
explaining Question 3.                      WOW!!!!!

“It was the coolest e-mail I’ve ever        Then he told her about his accident and
received. I knew after reading it that’s    his head injury.
who I’m going to marry.”
                                            How it took him 6 1/2 years to get his
His wife remembers explaining her past      exercise science degree from UNL
at the beginning of their eHarmony          because his brain didn’t process the
courtship.                                  way most people’s did.

                                  The BIA-NEws

“Because you were so open I figure I             NEBRASKA EPILEPSY WALK
should ‘put all of my cards on the table’                 2010
as well,” he told her.                         also benefiting brain injury awareness!
They were married at St. Teresa’s                  (from Michele’s blogspot at
Catholic Church 15 months later.     
Life is busy now with two babies. But         Dale and I will be participating in the first
Dale and Michele are still passionate.        Lincoln Epilepsy Walk which will be held
Dale belongs to a brain injury support        indoors at Westfield Gateway Mall on
group and talks to people with TBI,           March 27, 2010. I am posting this
showing them life — a normal life —           information so that people can view my
goes on after tragedy.                        page with information about this event.
                                              We would be thrilled if you would join us
Michele attends the epilepsy support          for the walk here in Lincoln so that we
group she started in Lincoln two years        can have a great turnout!
ago – three years after she helped start
a similar group in Omaha. She writes a        Thanks so much to all of our friends and
blog about the disease.                       family who have supported us over the
                                              years in all of our efforts in raising
And Saturday, the whole family                awareness for Epilepsy and Traumatic
participated in the local version of the      Brain Injury. This will be the first time
National Walk for Epilepsy 2009 in            that Dale and I will truly be able to
Omaha.                                        join together in celebrating both
                                              causes at one event, so we would
Even Ava, born with club feet and             love to have a big turnout for Lincoln.
abandoned when she was 2 weeks old,
walked part of the way, her feet good as      (Let Michelle or Dale know if you like to
new after surgery.                              help out at a table/booth during the
When they decided to adopt, Dale and
Michele went through an agency
                                               For those of you in Omaha, the Walk
specializing in hard-to-place children.       will be on the same day at the Shadow
                                              Lake Mall, an outdoor mall in Omaha. A
They said they would take a child with         TBI table there might also be helpful.)
missing limbs or scars, epilepsy or
special needs.

“It would have been hypocritical of us
                                                Contact Teresa Thompson, BIA-NE
not to,” Michele explains, sitting with her
                                              board secretary, for questions, ideas, or
perfect match. “It’s just not that big of a
                                                  submissions to this newsletter:
                                       or 402-325-9232


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