STARTS GROUP FOR FAMILIES OF BRAIN TRAUMA VICTIMS
Bristol Herald Courier/Virginia-Tennessean,
Nov. 16, 1999
The Daily Progress, Charlottesville, Nov. 16, 1999
The Associated Press
RADFORD - Greg and Fran Rooker know
firsthand how frustrating it is to have a loved one with a brain
injury and no information about how to find help.
Their 11-year-old son, Jason, accidentally
hanged himself in 1996 with a toy lasso at the family's Claytor
Lake home. Jason's father revived him with CPR, but the boy suffered
severe brain damage and lost the use of his arms and legs. He died
16 months later.
Now, the Rookers have started The
Jason Foundation to help other families of brain injury victims.
"Resources seemed so hard to
find, about therapists, treatment centers, how to help Jason,"
Mrs. Rooker said.
Without knowing where to turn for
help, the Rookers relied on nearly 150 people in the community who
volunteered to help with Jason's therapy. Among other things, the
volunteers searched libraries and the Internet to find information
on brain injuries. Mrs. Rooker and her husband, publisher of Family
Community Newspapers, are now sharing that information with other
families in need across the country.
Some 2,000 fliers have gone to hospitals,
trauma centers and other places announcing the foundation's service.
A local law firm has provided office space and donations are covering
Fran Rooker, founder and
president of the Jason Foundation is shown in her Radford,
The Jason Foundation started unofficially
about a week after Jason's death when a Virginia Beach man called
the Rookers seeking information on brain trauma for someone in his
"That was, I guess, kind of
a sign to us," said Mrs. Rooker, "that there were people
out there who needed our assistance."
So far, Mrs. Rooker said the foundation
has helped about 25 families over the last two years, many of whom
have found out about the organizations by word of mouth.