October 2001 Jason Foundation Newsletter

Dear Friends,

We all have our attention focused on the traumatic changes imposed upon our nation, and how we will be able to adapt our daily abilities into a new way of living. We all wish this tragedy had been prevented! At The Jason Foundation, we are very familiar with such adjustments and need for prevention, not only through our personal experience, but also through our work with the many survivors of brain injury and their families.

Prevention is still the only cure for brain injury. Until we can prevent traffic accidents, cardiac arrests, acts of violence, sports related injuries, and falls among the elderly, 50,000 Americans will die each year as the result of an acquired brain injury. Additionally, 80,000 people will suffer permanent changes in their lives that will affect the lives of their families and friends. Until we can prevent brain injury, it also continues to be the leading cause of death and disability for children and youth in this country. Adapting to a new way of life is the only choice at present.

The Jason Foundation continues to receive many blessings and opportunities to help improve the quality of this new way of 1ife for survivors of brain injury and their families. We have had a very successful and busy year.

Since we provided the initial funding last year for reestablishing George Washington University's Master's Degree Program in Special Education and Brain Injury, this program has expanded into a three-year charter by the university for a Center for Education and Human Services In Acquired Brain Injury. The mission of the Center is to contribute to the improvement of the lives of people with brain injuries and their families by conducting scholarly studies and graduate level professional preparation in education and human service fields related to brain injury. Now we are facilitating the development of a Distance Learning Program in this area of education between GWU and Radford University. This is an opportunity that continues to grow!

As hoped, Brain Injury Services of SWVA became a reality last November, through work and start-up funding from The Jason Foundation and Family Community Newspapers. Specialized coordination of long term services to maximize survivors' rehabilitation is now provided by two Service Coordinators in the Roanoke and New River valleys, partially funded through grants from Carilion Foundation and New River Valley Health Foundation. BIS SWVA was also recently awarded a two-year grant from the inaugural cycle of the Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative Trust Fund for a pilot project, in collaboration with Radford University's Waldron College of Health and Human Services, to deliver adaptive Life Skills Training to survivors in rural areas using distance technology. Additional funding for families receiving direct services coordinated by BIS SWVA will be provided through a benefit recently held by the Roanoke Valley Chapter of the Brain Injury Association of VA. The first Southwest Virginia Invitational Golf Challenge included two days of workshop sessions providing instruction on adaptive golf for people of all disabilities. Golfers of all abilities participated in the tournament on the third day. These financial blessings have positioned Brain Injury Services of SWVA with the opportunity to empower survivors and their families.

As opportunity allowed us to expand, so did the generosity of First Virginia Bank-Southwest. Recognizing the importance of our work to establish community support services for survivors of brain injury, FVB provided an additional suite of offices in Roanoke. BIS SWVA is housed in the branch at Towers Mall, with a satellite office within The Jason Foundation suite in First Virginia Bank-Southwest's Norwood Street branch in Radford.

From these locations we will continue to promote awareness of brain injury as a public health issue, to assist in coordinating and advocating for services for survivors and their families, and to be open to the opportunities given us to be of service. We ask that you share our news of this past year with those who may need us, and those who may wish to support us. Please let them know that their gifts are tax deductible, and most sincerely appreciated.

May blessings continue in your lives!
Fran Rooker, President


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