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Sometimes in life, the stars just align.
And before you know it, you are connected to something bigger than you ever thought imaginable.
I was a journalist who worked for several locally-based military community publications. Through that work, I was honored to share the stories of veterans (including disabled veterans), active duty servicemembers, military spouses and military families.
This community showed me what resiliency and empowerment was first hand.
Enter the Brain Energy Support Team (BEST).
Through my work at the paper, I had the chance opportunity to interview BEST multiple times, as BEST was a valuable resource for the military community. They, too, taught me about empowerment, resilience, and hope.
Through these conversations, a bond and friendship emerged with my new BEST friends, and it was then that I began my communications work right here, starting with this very blog.
Here’s where the stars align.
On my first day with BEST, I got the news, literally that very same day, that a family member was formally and officially diagnosed with a brain injury and epilepsy after several misdiagnoses.
So here I was, amongst kind, supportive, welcoming, and amazing people, brain injury survivors and family caregivers, who were able to provide resources, encouragement, and care for me and my family from day one.
I have had the opportunity over the years to write and share the stories, in words and pictures, of survivors, caregivers and families. I have also been able to connect, have important conversations, and develop friendships and share support each day with people from the brain injury and caregiving community from all over the world through BEST’s social media platforms.
This bond of support and care has only strengthened during COVID-19; but also, the need for support has also increased due to the pandemic.
It’s with this personal experience over the last eight years, and witnessing first hand the impact of COVID-19 on the brain injury community, that I encourage anyone reading this to join us as a BEST Superhero member or support us with a monetary gift (any amount is welcomed and appreciated). (Prefer to mail your gift? Click here).
Your efforts will make a difference.
In fact, I know this for sure: your efforts are the difference.
It wasn’t until I had been discharged from a month-long hospital stay in 2016 after experiencing a major stroke that I had even heard of the Brain Energy Support Team (BEST). For some reason I don’t really know or understand, I decided to get into a support group. The social worker at the hospital gave me a list of groups and I set out to make calls for information and choose the one I thought would work best for me.
I called the first number on the list and spoke with a man named Jeff. After we spoke for just a couple of minute, I felt I didn’t need to make any more calls. Jeff was somehow comforting and reassuring and seemed like a favorite-uncle-type.
I didn’t need to look any further; I had found my support group.
After only about three group meetings, Jeff approached me with a proposition: write pieces for BEST’s blog space. I was hesitant, but Jeff seemed to believe in me (for some reason), and I finally gave in and tried it.
It turned out to be a successful move, and the high profile writing that blog gave me has given me a great deal of credibility in the brain injury community. It seems I am seen by some as an inspiration and a role model.
Now that Jeff spotted my potential and presented me with an opportunity to use it in service of brain injury survivors.
That’s one of the best things about BEST: you are not just a face, you are a living, breathing, unique individual with hopes, dreams, and aspirations.
The BEST experience can help a survivor realize their strengths and abilities, as well as how to use them to their greatest advantage. And being part of a group of individuals with shared experiences and challenges provides invaluable benefits to one’s life, spirit and outlook.
BEST does all that and more, and not just through its support groups.
Apart from being great therapy, on the strength of that blog (to which I still contribute), I have:
I have an invitation to participate in another such group beginning early in the new year.
And of course, BEST provided me the opportunity to make lots of good friends with whom I can socialize and understand what living with a brain injury means. Through BEST I’ve gained a whole support network filled with dear friends, many of whom I will be friends for the rest of our lives.
BEST’s support group certainly lives up to its promise.
Apart from the support groups, BEST provides support, activities, and access to organizations assisting people with issues affecting people with traumatic brain injuries.
BEST is a one-stop shop for brain injury survivors in Washington State and beyond.
If you are a brain injury survivor, joining the Brain Energy Support Team is about the BEST thing you could do for yourself.
BEST is simply the best.
To support BEST, you can make an online donation here. If you prefer to mail in your donation, click here.
|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 doesn’t mind it at all if someone offers to pick up his restaurant tab and, also, welcomes reader comments. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more articles by Isaac here; https://www.brainenergysupportteam.org/archives/tag/isaac-peterson|
I wear a mask, and that mask is not to hide who I am, but to create who I am.
In the brain injury community, creating who were are, what we want to be, and where we want to go, is critical to our recoveries and living the best lives possible.
Support. Empowerment. Education. Knowledge. Resources. Care. Love.
All those things noted above are the tools to create who we are (with a little help from our BEST friends).
Giving Tuesday, the international day of giving back to organizations and causes you care about, is November 30, 2021. For Giving Tuesday and this holiday season, join us at BEST with your gift, membership and support.
Want to get started now?
Click here to help TODAY to create the superhero in you, and the superhero in others.
To share your support by mail, click here.
We’ve known best.
As a community of individuals, caregivers, and families navigating brain injury and other cognitive challenges, we know what we need.
The best overall health and wellness possible.
The ability to share our stories and be heard.
The opportunity to grow and learn new things.
The chance to connect, support, and help each other and others just like us.
What we know best has been brought into question the during the pandemic. How can we do what’s best for ourselves and the community in the face of a pandemic? During constant change and uncertainty?
The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) developed and built on the vision of a small group of people who wanted what was best for them to live full and meaningful lives. Support, resources, advocacy, and education where the tools to achieve that goal.
Kindness. Caring. Understanding. Love. Those were the elements that made the tools work.
With vision, tools, and work, the BEST community connected near and far, grew together, learned new things, and supported each other.
Enter 2020 and all that it brought with it.
We didn’t know best, because frankly we didn’t know.
We didn’t know what things meant. What was next. No one knew. Our tools, great as they were, needed to change and adapt and fast.
BEST transitioned fully online and worked to provide resources, strategies, advocacy, support, educational content and assurance through their website, social media platforms, virtual world programs, and learning center to help our community transition to new ways to connect and grow. Some of the tools were tried and true, others brand new.
Tried and true, or new, a few things we know for sure.
BEST never wavered in the face of change because we had these things from our past, for our present, (and well into the future): kindness; caring; understanding; love.
Change will come again. It may come today, tomorrow, or another time. What’s at our core, and in our hearts, is our love that we have for our community. It will always prevail. It will always know best.
Click here to share your love and care with the brain injury community by joining us with your gift and support today.
Prefer to mail your gift? Click here.