In the midst of the uncertainty, one thing is for sure: BIAV is here for you.
COVID-19 has forever changed the global landscape, and we are all being forced to change, too. But change also provides opportunities to reflect, reconnect, and regroup so we can be better and stronger.
What we hope first and foremost is that you and yours are staying safe and healthy.
While the “shelter in place” directive has dramatically shifted the way BIAV conducts business, we remain focused on improving the lives and the health of the brain injury community, and wanted to share with you a few things we’re doing:
We continued with normal activities in spite of the pandemic:
- March was Brain Injury Awareness Month and BIAV launched “Know the Signs,” a concussion awareness campaign full of resources, statistics, and tools to help spread the word on this important type of brain injury. With 18 Ambassadors, our materials were downloaded more than 150 times, and reached more than 5,000 people.
- Our online resources are being utilized more than ever. Our online resource directory has been accessed more than 500 times since its February launch. This valuable tool enables you to search by location to find brain injury professionals, programs and services in Virginia. Other helpful resources have been downloaded from the BIAV website 2,900 times. Click to view it.
- Our Information and Referral program is still in demand. Every day, we’re answering calls and emails from people who need information and guidance about accessing services and supports for their brain injury recovery. Get in touch with us here.
We responded to COVID-19 by transitioning to a virtual environment:
- We redesigned our Heading Forward Conference. It’s going to look a little different this year, and we’ve scaled it back some, but we’re doing it anyway! It will be held as a web-based event, and will run over 4 days in May. Click here for more details. Click here for more details.
- We started new online support groups. We are using new technology to meet virtually and continue helping persons with brain injury and those caring for them. Expanding online support groups helps to lessen the feeling of isolation during this difficult time.
- We held Facebook and Instagram Live events with members of our Speakers Bureau. Kia and Kellie provided inspiration, strategies and hope regarding life after brain injury and how they’re coping with changes caused by COVID-19. Click to watch.
We created new ways to help:
- We developed new resources. Information regarding COVID-19, dealing with anxiety related to the pandemic, lists of telehealth providers and other topics are being updated regularly on the BIAV website and social media accounts. View our COVID-19 page here.
- We added on-demand webinars to our website and scheduled new ones free of charge Click to see what’s now available.
- We began a temporary assistance fund. Gift cards are being provided from our direct services funds to offset daily living expenses for those who have contacted us and indicated financial hardship. We want to ensure they have adequate food, medicine, and other critical health care supports.
As we learn more about COVID-19 and its impact on brain function, we may need to respond to a new population with a unique set of needs. Respiratory issues can lead to hypoxic brain injuries, meaning the brain does not get enough oxygen to function as it should. We’ve seen alarming reports of an increase in strokes in 20 and 30 year-olds that appear to be COVID related. And we’ve seen CT and MRI images that show the virus can also have neurological impacts as a result of immune cells going into overdrive to fight off infection, which then leads to the death of brain cells.
Some of the people we serve who have brain injuries have already tested positive for COVID-19. All of them are at high risk, due to chronic health conditions associated with brain injury and as a result we may see a spike in a demand for BIAV services. We are determined to get beyond our current obstacles with your help.
The brain injury community is one of the most resilient groups I have had the honor to serve. We want you to know that BIAV is here today, and we’ll be here in the future to support you – our ties to you are deep-rooted and abiding. We will get through this TOGETHER.
But, we need your support now more than ever.
Our budget took a significant cut when we had to cancel events, and we are preparing ourselves for a decrease in our state contract, as a result of state budget cuts. If you have the ability, please consider making a donation today. Your funds will be used to continue to help during this pandemic and help with our ongoing operational needs.
We are so very thankful for your support in the past, the future and most importantly, now. You are the power behind our work!
If you have any questions or need anything from our BIAV team during this time, please do not hesitate to reach out. We’ll continue to monitor COVID-19 and keep you informed of any new resources so you can stay focused on keeping you and your family healthy.
Anne McDonnell, Executive Director
P.S. Under the CARES Act, you can claim a brand new “above-the-line” deduction of up to $300 for cash donations made to charity this year!