Survive Headstrong Walk for Brain Injury Recovery

ABI Programs Reach Their Goal—9th Year in a Row!

 “Survive Headstrong—Walk for Brain Injury Recovery”

by Heike Kessler-Heiberg, MA, SLP-CCC

For the past nine years, the District’s Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Programs have been a top fundraiser for the California’s Brain Injury Association in their annual Survive Headstrong Walk to raise funds for brain injury awareness, education, and research. Team ABI came through again this year, raising well over $17,000; the fundraising page is still open through the end of April. The Walk was held on Saturday, March 19 at DeAnza Cove and was well-attended with approximately 700 participants, volunteers, and exhibitors. It was a fun-filled Saturday morning with music, a warm-up exercise session, many interesting exhibitors, a drum circle, raffle prize give-aways and much cheering.

The SD Brain Injury Foundation provides referrals, education, advocacy, and support for survivors of traumas, strokes, and tumors---and the Survive Headstrong Walk helps raise awareness and money for all of these efforts. Team ABI has now raised over $120,000 for the Walk since its inception!

As the top fundraiser, a portion of the money raised by Team ABI goes to the ABI Trust Fund. This past year alone, we have used trust money to fund roller backpacks, home organization and vision therapy services for students in need, application fees for refurbished computers, and guest speaker fees for our Summer Guest Speaker series. A highlight of 2015 for the ABI Program was when we were able to charter a bus with this money and take 100 students on a tour of the downtown San Diego Library. Another recent highlight is that this money helped fund the “ABI Anne Heller Scholarships” in honor of our long-time and much beloved dean, Anne Heller, who retired last fall. Six ABI students were selected to receive the scholarships this spring, ranging from $100-200 each.

Brain injury can happen to anyone, any time, any place. A homeowner falls off a ladder putting Christmas decorations away. A young man falls off his skate board on a hill. A teacher suffers a stroke due to sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation. A business owner suffers cognitive impairments as a result of the radiation that helped destroy her brain tumor. As always, Team ABI is proud to be part of the support system and advocacy efforts for these survivors.

Last year’s t-shirt read:

 “Finding a new way to get there, a better way to be. I see differently now.”

This year’s 2016 t-shirt simply showed a picture of a phoenix rising.

We look forward to designing our next shirt for next year’s Survive Headstrong Walk on March 18, 2017!

Mission: San Diego Continuing Education commits to student success and community enrichment by providing accessible, equitable, and innovative quality education and support services to diverse adult learners in pursuit of lifelong learning, training, career advancement, and pathways to college.