The holiday season has come and gone and the final preparations for our annual fundraiser had begun. The fundraiser committee members and myself spend many hours preparing for the event. Making baskets, collecting prizes and donations, advertising, and making sure that it will be as successful as it has been in the past years. I am happy to say that our “5th Annual Transition of Minds Fundraiser” was even better. We raised 5000.00 more than last year with attendance being up and more generous donations. It thrills me to know that we can assist with more families. I hope that the generosity of people continue throughout the year with donations. Knowing all to well the financial burden that families endure after their loved one suffers a traumatic brain injury.
This year the foundation board members decided to present a recognition award; and we named it the “Monarch Award”. Due to our symbol of the butterfly and our own personal experience with a Monarch butterfly. The award was presented to Next Steps Chicago for their dedication and services to people with TBI’S and disabilities. Their continued efforts to help those with disabilities shine through daily as each disabled person smiles during their rigorous and sometimes painful therapies. Knowing that there is hope to overcome their disability.
I’m excited to talk about our latest adventure with Mike’s recovery. As the saying goes ” When one door closes another one opens “, is so true. Just when we were feeling we hit a road block with Mike, a new adventure becomes available. Back in 2012, I had seen a piece on Night Line about a Dr. Carrick in Georgia who does “Functional Neurology” with great results for people with neurological issues. I immediately called to set up an appointment. Disappointed that the waiting list was almost a year. Being a world known doctor treating celebrities and athletes will have that sort of result. So putting it on the back burner and working with therapies available now to help Mike were top priority. Then by chance we saw a T.V. interview with a local doctor from our town who practices “Functional Neurology” and studied under Dr. Carrick. The harmony begins. We started seeing Dr. George Michalopoulos and Dr. Jerry Iavarone of Illinois Neuro & Physical Rehabilitation in January. Results improving every visit. Mike, balancing himself with 10lb weights in each hand and doing hammer curls. Speech more articulate, anxiety levels down and more concentrated. Both doctors tag teaming to get the best results for Mike’s recovery. Dr. Michalopoulos concentrating on stimulation and rerouting neurons and Dr. Iavarone doing “Metronome Therapy” to improve attention, concentration, motor planning, and sequencing which will improve Mike’s coordination, balance, and gait. So great in all aspects. They are a wonderful practice with the desire and passion to help people with neurological issues.
I have to let the cat out of the bag. We will traveling to Georgia in the next month to see Dr. Carrick and spend a week with his team of doctors. Thanks to Dr. Michalopoulos and his passion to help Mike to an independent life. Expectations are high but I finally feel I can breath fresh air and believe we have come to a “full circle” with Mike’s recovery.
Fingers and toes are crossed that this will be our last adventure. We have learned so much since day one of Mike’s journey and we hope we can continue to help and educate current and future traumatic brain injury (TBI) individuals.