In case you missed it, BEST shared recaps and a video for both days of the 2019 Washington State TBI Conference in Spokane, Washington on April 15th and 16th. The recaps provide additional informational links and the video shares our virtual photo album of the event. As a social media bonus, we did a video from the road on the way back west showcasing the beauty of the state.
For the recap of day one (April 15th), click here.
For the recap of day two (April 16th), click here.
For the videos, see below.
The 2019 Washington State TBI Conference has come to a conclusion. What a terrific experience it was!
First, we felt a warm welcome to city of Spokane. Thank you for being a super city!
Second, the day kicked off with some morning greetings, door prizes and fun, which then launched into an important morning session with Dr. Todd Wylie on vision therapy and brain injury.
Dr. Wylie expressed the science, symptoms, strategies, treatments and tips on vision therapy and vision issues. It was an interesting discussion with a question and answer session. Read all about Dr. Wylie’s story, here.
Participants were able to take a break, visit and explore the exhibits continued from day one of the conference. Morning breakout sessions after the break included advice and support, assistive technology, brain injury in the corrections system, domestic violence, how to start and maintain a brain injury support group, yoga, art, and massage.
Lunch was shared with important conversation around the parties receiving final approval for settlement to reform Washington’s forensic mental health system (Trueblood Lawsuit Settlement). Read about this critical work, here.
The collective group of conference goers shared a warm tribute to the late Tommy Manning, Washington State brain injury advocate, activist, and supporter. As a survivor himself, he made an enormous impact on the support of other survivors. Learn all about Tommy’s story in a tribute from BEST Executive Director, Gloria Kraegel.
Former legislator, Dennis Flannigan , advocate Darci Ladwig, and Dianella Clark, of the Washington State Traumatic Brain Injury Council and a brain injury survivor and advocate, gave a rousing, hopeful and inspirational group panel on advocacy and activism.
The advice given by all three? Here is the common thread:
- Talk to your legislators about brain injury. Practice talking to them. Don’t be afraid to speak to them-you are the expert in your brain injury.
- Legislators want to hear from you and hear your story.
- Keep contacting legislators.
- Organize people power. The more people that share their story, the better.
After this inspirational session, conference participants had other fantastic offerings of eight different work shops, from sports concussions, screening for TBIs, yoga and more.
Of course, there was more visiting, new friends, old friends, and warm embraces.
Thank you superheroes, for an amazing conference experience.
Please enjoy this video of our favorite pictures.
The 2019 Washington State TBI Conference in Spokane, Washington April 15-16, 2019, is a wrap!
Here are some of our favorite pictures in video to mark the event. We will be sharing additional recaps and more soon. Stay tuned!
Many thanks to the real-life superheroes of the brain injury community. You are truly the BEST!
The first afternoon of the 2019 Washington State TBI Conference in Spokane, Washington, was a wonderful combination of sharing, caring, important conversations, resources, and information.
The exhibit hall was the site of participant registration and a variety of exhibitors who shared a wide variety of resources. Organizations included the Brain Energy Support Team (BEST), HeadStrong, Northwest Brain Injury Symposium, TBI Council/Alta, Disability Rights Washington, Spokane Veteran’s Center, Employment Security Office, Wallingford Support Group, St. Luke’s Rehab Institute, Disability Action Center, Brain Injury Alliance of Washington, Brain Injury Alliance of Spokane, the Aging and Long Term Care of Washington, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The keynote speaker to kick off the conference was Dr. Cheryle Sullivan and her presentation, “Resilience and Advocacy–The Journey Together.” Dr. Sullivan shared her journey in three parts: as a doctor, a caregiver for multiple family members with brain injury and brain-related medical conditions, and finally as a brain injury survivor herself.
Dr. Sullivan endured six traumatic brain injuries over her lifetime, with the most challenging impact with a ski accident in 2002.
The physician was met becoming a patient, along with a loss of independence, struggles at work, memory issues, mental health and emotional struggles and more.
Navigating the medical system was not easy.
Over time, Dr. Sullivan was able to met the right medical team, specialists, therapies and support groups after enduring so much for so long.
Her message was that of not giving up, to keep going, and finding emotional support, a critical part of the recovery process. Over her journey, she became more hopeful, inspired and a thirst for learning more.
Dr. Sullivan is the author of “The Brain Injury Survival Kit” and a contributor to “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries: 101 Stories of Hope, Healing and Hard Work.” She is also a presenter and speaker.
After the keynote speaker, breakout sessions occurred covering various topics such as art as therapy, TBI 101, how to transition to independence and suicide prevention.
For one of the breakout sessions, BEST Executive Director Gloria Kraegel and Stacy Chay, LICSWA, MHP from Eastern Washington University, gave a joint presentation on suicide prevention.
Both Kraegel and Shay presented powerful conversation, statistics, information about stigmas about suicide, strategies and a wealth of resources on traumatic brain injury, suicide and suicide prevention.
In the coming days on the BEST website blog, we will be sharing additional, in-depth information on this critical topic in a separate post.
After the break sessions, conference participants had the opportunity to ask questions, mingle and visit with others.
Looking forward to tomorrow’s experience! Thank you to all of the participants that made this first day special.
The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) is heading eastbound with our excitement, support and love in tow for the 2019 Washington State TBI Conference April 15-16th in Spokane, Washington.
We are looking forward to seeing old friends, making new friends and celebrating the real-life superheroes from Washington State! 💚
We will be adding recaps, photos, information and more in this space and on the BEST social media platforms.
Looking forward to sharing our care soon. Stay tuned, BEST friends! 😉
Work will be displayed in Tacoma Art Museum’s TAM Local: Community Art Space for the Superhero show from October 16, 2019 to December 26, 2019.
We will have an opening reception Thursday, October 17, 2019 in the TAM Community Art Space.
In celebration of this upcoming event, we will be featuring a BEST Artist Spotlight monthly series on the BEST website blog to share just a few of our BEST artists.
The articles will be featured until our opening reception event.
In this series, we’ll share the thoughts and inspirations of BEST artists who have embraced art on their life’s journey.
Here is our first spotlight and interview.
Diane’s Connection to BEST: Diane serves as the BEST Creative Consultant for Arts and Education and the BEST Gratitude Specialist.
Diane’s Connections to Art: Local paper and multimedia artist who is the creator and owner of Heartfelt Tidbits of Creativity, a handcrafted greeting card and gift business.
Diane’s Favorite Art to Create: “I love multimedia pieces—that’s what I really like. I love to work with beads, shells, sea glass and paint. I also like to add different things, like charms or words, and intermingle them all together.”
Theme of Diane’s Art: “Gratitude and encouragement, for sure. Heartfelt Tidbits of Creativity was founded on art that speaks from the heart.”
Why Art is Special to Diane: “I’ve always been just drawn to artists. It’s so exciting to put my full heart onto a canvas or a piece of art.”
Diane’s Favorite Superhero Characteristics: “A superhero lives a life of gratitude. Whatever they are doing, they are thankful. They have courage that encompasses so many things. Superheroes are also encouraging of others. Encouragement can change someone’s day or life. And kindness. Kindness is huge!”
To learn more about the community art installation program, the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM), and how you can participate as a local BEST artist, please click here.
(Editor’s Note: On this very day, two years ago, Isaac Peterson submitted his first article for this blog. Today, Isaac celebrates that milestone in the essay below.
Since the beginning, Isaac and I quickly developed a fast and terrific friendship and working relationship. Isaac’s work has graced these pages with many personal essays and articles over that time. He writes with heart, grit, and humor; a perfect combination.
On behalf of the Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) and BEST readers, thank you for your time, talents and words. You are the BEST. KT).
When I started contributing writing to this blog, the only thing I knew about traumatic brain injury (TBI), was that I had one and I wasn’t having any fun with it.
I started to attend a support group very soon after the stroke I had experienced, and Jeff Hartson, the support group facilitator, seemed to see something in me. I had no idea what; and soon, he began urging me to write for this blog.
At that time I really didn’t want to do it. I had no idea what I would say that was interesting–I don’t really view myself as being very interesting.
And there are so many blogs out there, who would care what a guy with a brain injury had to say about anything? Besides that, I didn’t really have it together enough to string together coherent sentences or the strength to work a keyboard.
But I gave it a try eventually, and to my bewilderment and surprise, Kim Thompson, my editor, seemed to like what I had written and encouraged me to continue writing.
Jeff and Kim came to occupy important spaces in my new life as a TBI survivor. You can either credit (or blame) those two for turning me loose on the world.
In spite of having no idea what to write or even how to begin, I’ve been at this now for two years, for the most part writing one entry a week, sometimes more, sometimes less.
My very first blog piece appeared here on April 5, 2017.
In that time, my confidence has increased by leaps and bounds. My great surprise at the success of this blog writing has never gone away.
Contributing to this blog has been key to my recovery. Since I had to keep coming up with topics to write about (I could only write about myself for so long, after all), I turned to doing research about TBI and then writing about what I learned. I can only hope people reading my words have learned some things along with me.
I’ve tackled a lot of topics over the last couple of years, both serious and humorous, and at every step along the way, I’ve learned a lot and begun to make friends with my brain again.
I have encountered some very kind and beautiful spirits, people who have reached out their hand and offered me encouragement, praise, and best wishes for my recovery.
Over the past two years I have had honors and opportunities come my way, and that’s been another big surprise, because most of those honors and opportunities came because of this blog. I’ve been asked to be part of a team working to get some TBI-related bills through the Washington State legislature.
I was nominated and accepted for membership on a statewide team proposing improvements for and providing information to Washington’s statewide social services agency. That came because of this blog; one of the honchos on that team spotted me in a coffee shop, came over and told me that something I’d written had helped him. And he wanted me on the team.
This website blog was ranked as one of the top TBI blogs–IN THE WORLD—another big surprise.
And just think–I didn’t even want to do this at first. Go figure.
All this, and more, were only possible because of the visibility this blog gives me. Sometimes I feel almost famous, almost like a rock star. If I’d had any idea it could be like this, I might have tried to have a stroke sooner. But the one I did have was quite enough for now, thank you.
Because of my situation, and your support, I feel I have a fine future ahead of me, and the only limits on that are the ones I impose on myself. All because I decided to bow to pressure and write for a TBI blog.
I would like to give the people at BEST, a special thank you for hosting this blog in the first place. I encountered these exceptional folks not long after my time in the hospital. They have been a real beacon of hope in my recovery and have provided a bright and shining path out of the darkness I’ve felt at times. They have helped an awful lot of people besides me and the world would be the poorer if they weren’t here. They really are the BEST.
But I think the greatest honor is that people like you keep coming back, and I think that has been a key factor in my recovery. One thing all of you have encouraged me to do is to make the best of my condition, to stay positive, and to continue to provide a safe, supportive space for anyone with a traumatic brain injury and the people in their lives. It’s because of you, and people like you, that I’ve been able to come to grips with my new life as a TBI survivor, and for that you have my eternal and undying gratitude and appreciation.
I am constantly told I am a role model and an inspiration because of the words I write. That’s a huge thing for a retired party monster like I was.
As long as you keep coming back, I’ll try to keep pretending to be interesting. It’s been a great, phenomenal two years and I’m happier than I can say that people like you have been along for the ride.
Here’s to the next two years, and here’s hoping it will continue to be onward and upward for all of us.
So Happy Anniversary to me. I’m hoping there will be many more.
Isaac Peterson grew up on an Air Force base near Cheyenne, Wyoming. After graduating from the University of Wyoming, he embarked on a career as an award-winning investigative journalist and as a semi-professional musician in the Twin Cities, the place he called home on and off for 35 years. He also doesn’t mind it at all if someone offers to pick up his restaurant tab. Peterson also welcomes reader comments. Email him at email@example.com.