“According to one definition, a Legacy is usually established upon a lifetime of good works to make life better for others and is connected to stories, traditions, memories, hopes and dreams. What grabs me about this definition is not that a legacy is left behind for others to be viewed in the rather small rear view mirror of our historical travels, but that a legacy should also reflect hopes and dreams that are viewed through the much larger forward windshield.” – Dr. Jeffrey Barth
Our 2022 Legacy Celebration was held on June 25, 2022. This annual celebration features a chance for friendships to be born and rekindled, memories to be made, and to celebrate the people and programs that have made it possible for BIAV to leave a legacy in Virginia. We have been reflecting on what BIAV’s legacy is, and this weekend reminded us exactly what we leave behind.
BIAV’s entire mission revolves around connection. Whether it’s connecting you to a brain injury specialist, or to another caregiver who has a similar experience to you, connection is what has made BIAV what it is today. Connection is being there in the tough times, and also laughing in the good ones. Our Legacy Celebration included lots of laughs when Dr. Barth had a visit from his friend Lola, or discussing the joys of Camp Bruce McCoy with Maralee Teshima.
We want Virginia to continue to be a better place for all those affected by brain injury. Over the last few years, BIAV has been committed to working with survivors of brain injury, their families, caregivers, and service providers. Senator Emmett Hanger, our 2022 Legislator of the year, has been a consistent support of BIAV and has helped us get very far.
“Y’all just keep on doing what you’re doing and I will help in any way I can. I pledge you that. I’m hoping we can do some great things together over the next few years.”
Our advocacy also led to our partnership with VDH on our Screen & Intervene Project for brain injury screening in survivors of domestic violence, which Camilla Herndon shared in her presentation.
Brain injury can be confusing, overwhelming, and scary. We want BIAV to be a beacon that you are not alone in your brain injury journey. Our member of the year, Karen Grazionale, said it best during her speech:
“That first year after [my husband] was injured that was dark, and scary, and lonely. Once I got myself together, I decided that I need to help other caregivers not feel alone while they’re in that dark and scary time. And as you heard, I do what I can to try to alleviate that for the people I can reach.”
The legacy of BIAV will be that our community has continued to make Virginia a place where all who have been affected by brain injury find community-based support, joy and laughter, and relationships. BIAV will never let anyone in the brain injury community feel alone. Lauren Carter-Smith, our 2022 Weinstock Award Winner and Camp Bruce McCoy director summed up how our programs like Camp Bruce McCoy are there for survivors.
“I cannot give nearly as much as I receive. Being able to allow 1-2 weeks for survivors to be normal, and that’s how they describe themselves. One survivor told me, ‘This is the first time I felt normal. You guys gave me a choice. You guys offered me encouragement instead of immediately jumping in to help. I got to do things that I’ve never gotten to do and I’ve gotten to meet real friends.’”
BIAV’s legacy isn’t possible to create without our board of directors, members, donors and partners. For those of you who have supported us, thank you for being a part of our legacy. What we do isn’t possible without you. If you are interested in being a part of our legacy, or helping us continue to grow it, please consider joining our membership program or donating.