Monday, August 6, 2007

Help for Brain Injury Victims

This handsome DJ is my brother Casey Leonard. On Memorial Day weekend he was involved in a tragic ATV accident and suffered severe brain trauma. I am happy to report that Casey is working his way back to us one day at a time. Everyday my family rejoices that he is a living miracle, even his doctors say they've never seen a patient survive with injuries as serious as Casey's. He is still in the hospital but when the time is right he'll go to a rehabilitation center where he will stay until he is well enough to go home.

My family is experiencing first hand the arduous journey a brain injury victim must walk. A few nights after his accident Casey's mother whispered to him that if the pain was too bad and the road ahead too hard she would do her best to let him go. "If you want to go to God, I'll understand, " she told me she whispered in his ear. Casey decided to fight and we are fighting with him.

There are so many families dealing with the same situation. We are not alone. Wives and parents are welcoming loved ones home from Iraq that have suffered a brain injury due to IED's and other bombings. They face months of recovery and an even longer adjustment to the reality of living with and within a battered mind.

A battalion was created this summer, at Camp LeJune, North Carolina to give the soldiers a place of support and marine camaraderie. It's called the Wounded Warrior Battalion. To read more about this inspirational place go to

We are finding out with my brother that victims of TBI need constant support and stimulation. They must relearn many of the activities we take for granted. Talking, eating, walking, grasping...things we do almost involuntarily, must be taught as if the adult victim were a young toddler. Connections in the brain must be hopefully rewired by playing memory games, coloring pictures, doing crafts, and simple tasks that link motor skills and thought.

It's an exhausting act of love to be a victim's source of support. If you'd like to help families like mine in some small but tangible way, I located Do One Nice Thing has a program listed under IDEAS labeled "We can help people with brain injuries". Here is what they suggest:

One of the most outstanding Brain Rehabilitation centers is at the Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.orb/, in Rochester, MN. Games and crafts, below, help patients undergoing recreational therapy.
Please send any of the following:

decks of playing cards
wood kits
watercolor paint sets
package of colored pencils
a sketch bookstamp pads/rubber stamps
100-300 piece jigsaw puzzles
games: Scrabble, Trouble, Uno, Scattergories (new or gently used)

How about including a card of encouragement? "We're with you." "You can do it!" "Sending you love." It's a good project to do with children.

Mail to: Dr. Tom Bergquist, Inpatient Rehab Unit, 3 MB, St. Mary's Hospital, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905.

On behalf of my family and Casey (I know he would thank you if he could) thank you in advance for anything you do to make the day of a brain injury patient orpgaofcp he/her family a little brighter.


Drake said...

Reading that simple quote from your mom made my eyes tear up - and I don't even know you. It shows what a strong person your mom must be.

God Bless

Lisa McGlaun said...

Thank you Drake,
You thoughts mean alot. Casey will recover and we will still love him (in whatever state he comes back to us). It's a hard thing to see and to know that the will never be the same.

All the best,

NeoAuteur said...

It's great that he is OK. My prayers will be with him.

Shari Thomas said...


My best friend had a brain injury from the time she was fourteen, the result of a non-malignant tumor, and then a post surgery complication. That was in 1962.

She successfully attended and graduated from the local University, taking only 1 semester longer than the rest of us. Wait... I took an extra semester, too.

Some 40 years later, she and I began doing some independent therapy work, and she has been regaining the use of her left arm.

The message: Don't let the pro's tell you they've done everything they can do. With faith the impossible is only improbable.

God Bless,

Lisa McGlaun said...

Thank you for sharing your friend's story, Shari. I'll keep my focus on that as Casey recovers. I believe in miracles and the strength of the human spirit and so does he.

Thanks for reminding me of it.

And thanks, neoauteur for your's the greatest gift anyone can offer.

Alta said...

Our best to Casey. My family will keep your family in our prayers.

Lisa McGlaun said...

Thank you Alta,
I so appreciate the way everyone, in the community where Casey lives and others around the world,have offered their support in whatever way they can.

Prayer can move mountains, I believe that.

Have a great day, my friend.