Since 1995, the Brain Injury Association of Sudbury and District has been exclusively devoted to serving Sudburians with brain injury, their families, and those that care for and about them. Our mission is to enhance the lives of individuals of Sudbury and District living with the effects of acquired brain injury through education, awareness and support and we achieve this through support, collaboration, leadership and inclusion.
June Valiquette, who passed away in early 2002, helped organize a group of local survivors, their families, and interested professionals, in order to create a support network for persons dealing with the effects of acquired brain injury (ABI). June’s son had sustained a severe brain injury following an accident in the early 1990s. Following a stay in intensive rehabilitation, June’s son and family felt disillusioned by the lack of resources available to provide continued support and resources to assist them in their lifelong journey.
The support network June helped organize, known then as the Sudbury Head Injury Association, became incorporated and renamed as the Brain Injury Association (Sudbury & District) in 1995. June consistently worked with the Association until January 2002, when she was forced to resign due to failing health.
Previously headquartered in a small office at the Sudbury General Hospital, the Association relocated to Regent Street, in the Navy League Hall, in 2000 and in 2004 relocated to 576 Haig. Currently, BIASD is located in the MS Centre of Hope at 2750 Bancroft Drive.
The Brain Injury Association Sudbury & District (BIASD) started from one parent’s need for her child and since then has developed into an organization with a Board of 14 highly dedicated individuals focused on ensuring the continuance of their member-centered programs and campaigns in Sudbury and Area. This consists of monthly support groups that provide ongoing support where individuals affected by brain injury can share their experiences and gain knowledge from speakers within the community. Regular outings and events encourage members and caregivers to get social with others. Events such as the Annual Charity Golf Tournament, St. Patrick’s Day Porketta Bingo, a Killarney Fish & Chip Trip, a Halloween Party, various Paint Socials and the end of year grand finale is the Holiday Gala that brings out over 60 survivors and 80 caregivers & family members. Partnerships with the rehabilitation, health care providers and the March of Dimes all continue to support the much-needed programs like the Helmet Program, Brain Basics, and the Survivor & Caregiver Support Groups.
In 2018, our goal was to integrate the new directors to the board and lead the board and organization through a development of their governance and strategic plans with a focus and clear purpose to enhance the support for the Sudbury and area brain injury community and engage our community while doing it.
Early in 2018, the program unmasking was launched through OBIA and with that, BIASD wanted to elevate the engagement and raise the awareness “throughout the community – with the community – in the community.”
Our events and programs to date have supported our members and created awareness, and the Board chose to use ‘Unmasking’ to communicate the important role of BIASD’s programs and services and the key role they play in supporting people’s recovery and helping them transition as community members.
On June 1, BIASD hosted a very successful afternoon of “Unmasking” at the United Steele Workers Hall in Sudbury that displayed the “Stories behind the Masks” as well as the inspiring “I am not my brain injury” Video by BIASD Survivors.
The BIASD Board and members witnessed an event in Sudbury that many will not forget. Words cannot express how thankful we were to the 30 survivors who decided to unmask and share their stories in efforts to make the “invisible” disability visible. On that day, we had over 120 participants, far exceeding our expectations. With a variety of speakers from the community, members and guests shared their knowledge and stories.
A guest commented…“Walking in with the visual of the masks along the wall, reading the stories, hearing the speakers … it was raw, it was heartwarming and an experience I will not forget, thank you” Kate
One of our speakers, Charles shared his story and was able to speak in front of an audience because he was the recipient of the Quality of Life Bursary started only the year before. This bursary is one of the many benefits of the organization, our member was able to attend Toastmasters to help him achieve his goals of becoming a confident speaker – and he DID IT!
The event was a great success on so many levels. It brought the Board and organization together with the community in the community. This event left everyone inspired and interested in joining our campaign for awareness and the vision to advance the understanding and eliminate the stigma of acquired brain injury. We also gain valuable new members through this new initiative and more support for our members.