It’s National Volunteer Week and BEST is paying tribute to our amazing volunteers. These superheroes support the BEST mission, vision and passion with their positive energy, personal empowerment, hard work and dedication, this week and every week.
Thank you volunteers for all that you do for the brain injury community and beyond. You are all truly the BEST.
Cyclist, brain injury survivor and Washington State resident, Kathi Sturgeon is helping to support brain injury survivors one ride at a time.
Sturgeon has founded an organization called Riding for Hope Alliance to do just that. The mission and goal of the organization is straightforward: Riding for Hope Alliance raises resources and awareness for brain injury survivors through bicycling. Sturgeon, an avid cyclist, wanted to channel her passion for the sport to help support fellow brain injury survivors. She came up with the idea last year to complete three different local rides to benefit three different nonprofit organizations that support brain injury survivors. Contributors donated directly to the designated organizations in honor of the ride.
Sturgeon accomplished her goal in 2016 and is ready to take Riding for Hope Alliance to the next level. Currently, she has social media presence through Facebook and Twitter and has a website coming soon. She also hopes to expand the riding team to help spread awareness and provide support to a cause that she holds dear.
“It’s my desire for others to give all through 2017, once they become aware of the organizations that are supported through Ride for Hope Alliance. My long-term goal is to expand this idea and add more riders, even riders in multiple states, to help support the cause and bring awareness.”
Sturgeon is also grateful about returning to cycling after her own brain injury and continuing on her own personal journey forward.
She began riding in California in the early-2000’s and fell in love with the sport right away.
“Prior to my injury, it was just this joy when I rode, physically, mentally and emotionally. It had so many benefits,” says Sturgeon. “I was on a women’s cycling team and we built friendships while raising money for causes.”
“I just fell in love with cycling,” Sturgeon continues. “There were the challenges, too, like longer and longer rides. It was such a great accomplishment!”
However, it was on the bike, while training for a ride, that Sturgeon was hit by a drunk driver in 2008. She sustained a traumatic brain injury, along with other serious injuries. Despite her circumstances, she distinctly remembers feeling the need to get back on the bike when she was in rehabilitation after her accident.
“After my injuries, I remember being in rehab and I really wanted to get back on my bike. When I first started riding again, it was on a tandem bike with my therapist.”
Sturgeon continued to heal and build strength through tandem rides and eventually she being able to ride on her own again.
The big test came in 2012 when Sturgeon relocated from California to Washington State. She was invited to appear on a local television news broadcast to share her story and talk about the work she was doing on behalf of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). It was in that interview that she declared she would ride the Seattle to Portland (STP) bike race in 2013.
“It was after that interview that I realized that I just said on television that I would ride the STP!” laughs Sturgeon.
Sturgeon remained true to her word, and along with a couple of physical therapists serving as support systems and fellow riders, completed the STP in 2013.
After recalling the memories of the race, she smiles and stated that it was nothing short of incredible.
For Sturgeon, this is only the beginning of her mission.
“I want to speak for brain injury survivors,” says Sturgeon. “By focusing on good nonprofits that support survivors, I want to help raise money and awareness for survivors.”
Sturgeon’s next endeavor will be to ride in the Tour De Lopez on Lopez Island in Washington State on Saturday, April 29, 2017. Riding for Hope Alliance is looking to raise funds and bring awareness to the Brain Energy Support Team (BEST). To support Riding for Hope Alliance and BEST, please click HERE. Thank you for your support!
To learn more about Riding for Hope for Alliance, please visit the organization on Facebook.
This year’s theme for the 2017 Washington State TBI Conference was “creating happiness.”
And THAT we did, in abundance.
Whether it was seeing old friends, meeting new friends, sharing information on resources, self-care and empowerment or sharing a laugh and a smile with others, the Washington State brain injury community created superhero-sized memories and learned new things.
What takeaways did we think were just the BEST?
Self-care, self-expression and self-love were our three biggest takeaways. This exploration of self came through keynote presentations of inspiration and empowerment; a chance to try massage and yoga to decompress and relax; art classes to learn and motivate; and a robust exhibition hall chock full of resources, tools, information and support for whatever survivors, their families and supporters needed. Even better? The smiles, laughter, hugs and pats on the back among the superheroes, caregivers and supporters were just amazing.
BEST was also pleased to showcase several BEST superhero business owners and artists. These superheroes got a chance to share their talent, skills and craft with other survivors and supporters.
For a full photo gallery of images, please check out our April 10 and April 11 posts on our Facebook page for more. For other resources, links and more photos of BEST business owners, please visit the BEST Pinterest page and check out our boards on Businesses by Brain Injury Owners and BEST Exclusives.
Wanted: BEST Superheroes
Who: Superheroes, families, caregivers and community supporters.
Where: Anywhere! All are welcome, whether near or far.
Why: For a special mission to provide support for the brain injury community on a whole new level and to help our superheroes and their families put the power in empowerment.
Thank you for answering the call, BEST superheroes and taking your gifts to our community further.
The BEST Superhero Society’s mission is simple: it is a dedicated team of supporters using our easy and convenient monthly giving platform. As a member of the BEST Superhero Society your monthly donation will make a difference in the lives of those with brain injury and their families while spending less on administrative costs for BEST. It’s an easy and affordable way for you to make your support go further. You can easily start, change, or stop your gift at any time online or by phone. Plus, membership has superhero-sized benefits!
Ready to check it out and accept this mission? Click HERE and prepare to be inspired with the difference you are just about to make!