During the month of March, an exhibit in the grand rotunda of the Florida State Capitol featured 100 masks created by survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI). The Brain Injury Association of Florida (BIAF) organized the exhibit, “The Faces of Brain Injury,” to raise awareness and educate the public about the needs of brain injury survivors and their families.
Each mask represented a person whose life was altered by a brain injury. Information – including the person’s job before the injury and the cause of the injury (often a car crash) – was displayed alongside the masks. The organization’s website still features more detailed stories of the survivors, including their recovery struggle and BIAF’s efforts to assist them.
One such story is that of Laurel Griefer, who was a successful young lobbyist and engaged to be married in 1988 when she walked out of a bridal shop holding her wedding dress, and into the path of a vehicle. Laurel, now 61, has lived with brain injury for nearly half her life. She relies on family and community support, and she enriches her life by volunteering.
Representative Fred Costello (Port Orange) and Senator Aaron Bean (Jacksonville) issued both Senate and House Resolutions designating March 2015 as Brain Injury Awareness Month for Florida.
To learn more about the stories of brain injury survivors, visit www.biaf.org.