© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
Public Files Contact · ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Brain Injury Survivor Stories

Hear from survivors of brain injuries, in their own words, about their experiences and how they have been able to rebuild their lives through their own determination and the support of others.

Sponsored by

general@biact.org (860) 219-0291 Brain Injury Alliance of Connecticut

Brain Injury Alliance of Connecticut (BIAC)

Since 1982, the Brain Injury Alliance of Connecticut (BIAC) has been Connecticut's partner in brain injury awareness, prevention, education, resources, and support. BIAC is Connecticut's only statewide, 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing brain injury survivors, their families and caregivers with necessary information and emotional support as they travel the often long and difficult road after brain injury. Through our free Helpline, BIAC Brain Injury Specialists offer individualized and comprehensive resources and services for callers, ensuring that the complex problems they face are negotiated more easily and effectively. BIAC also offers free Support Groups and Social Events to help build social and emotional connections, and a positive sense of community and belonging.

Learn more about brain injury, including ABI, concussions, strokes, and TBI. To get help now, for you or a loved one, visit the Helpline webpage, or contact a BIAC Brain Injury Specialist by calling the Helpline at (860) 219-0291.

Brett Moore

On November 7, 2006, Brett was a 20-year-old student At Southern Connecticut State University. He was in his Junior year of studies. While driving home from an early morning class he was involved in a crash that would change his life forever. Brett sustained extensive traumatic brain injury. The initial prognosis was that his injuries were fatal.

Brett endured months of recovery and rehabilitation. He was forced to relearn walking, talking, and even the most basic of daily functions. He would eventually recover to the point where he would move from his family home to an apartment of his own. With assistance from the Medicaid Acquired Brain Injury Waiver Program he received help in the form of companion aides, Independent Life Skills Trainers, and Supported Employment Job Coaches. In 2015 Brett was able to obtain and retain part-time employment through a disability focused agency. He continues to work three days a week.

Brett has struggled with experiences common to brain injury survivors such as loss of contact with friends, difficulty in establishing relationships, limitations in earning capacity, partial isolation resulting from loss of ability to drive, and many others. However, he works hard to remain positive and focused on progress as the fight is one that will last a lifetime.

Brett has been engaged in aiding other brain injury survivors through his participation in fundraising events benefitting the Brain Injury Alliance of Ct. Additionally he participates in monthly survivor support groups. He strives always to further the message of resilience and willpower in the fight to recover from brain injury. Brett has demonstrated this by visiting the victims of brain injury and their families in hospital settings shortly after the occurrence of injury, as well as visiting them in rehab settings. His desire has always been to demonstrate through his own circumstances that although the fight to recover is difficult, it does happen, and life does go on.

Noah Lourie Mosher

My name is Noah Lourie Mosher. I am a brain injury survivor from a rock climbing fall in 2013. Before my accident, in 2012, I’d graduated as a studio art major from Vassar College and then moved to Berlin Germany to continue my artwork. I was also an avid rock climber and went with a friend of mine to go climbing in the Dolomite Mountains of Italy. On that trip I had a freak accident while down climbing, a piece of the rock wall fell when I put my weight on it and I fell around 100 feet! Luckily for me I had my helmet on and was wearing my backpack, and my partner was able to run down and make a call to the emergency number for help.

Having a brain injury sucks, my TBI has completely changed me in many ways, both mentally and physically. After my accident I’ve had friends who knew me before say that I haven’t changed. Sure, my personality and humor are still intact, which is probably what they’re referring to, but my mental processing speed and confidence have definitely decreased. I now face challenges with memory, auditory input, multitasking, managing emotional overload, physical balance and motor control on my left side.

Part of the injury was a hit on the right side of my head, causing me to have less control on the left side and drop foot in my left lower leg. I wear a brace on my left leg or an electric muscle stimulation device enabling me to walk on my own with a cane.

Where before I was in peak physical shape, now I have mobility issues, but that doesn’t stop me from continuing to be an active person. Every week I climb at the indoor climbing gym, I take multiple 1 to 3 mile walks, I use an elliptical machine, I do home physical therapy exercises, sometimes I get to do water exercises/swim and in winter I snowshoe.

Post accident, I have found tremendous benefit from trying to keep a positive attitude in my life, setting goals and working to achieve them. It helps to structure my days, having something to focus on and accomplish.

Recovering from a brain injury is similar to climbing because it’s really hard work, it takes focus, and is best when you don’t do it alone. You need people around you who you can trust and who support you.

Since my accident I haven’t been working, but I have been doing some volunteering. Giving back through the volunteering is very rewarding and engaging.

One of the biggest hurdles I’ve faced is learning to accept my brain injury and all that has changed because of it. It can be very hard to accept the many things that I’ve lost, but I find that if I try and stay positive and don’t give up I tend to feel better. Even so, there are still times when I am completely overwhelmed and overloaded by my brain injury and get into a bad place. That’s usually when I have to find a new level of acceptance, as much as I don’t like it.

At present, my main goals are to find a part time job and increase my independence. I look forward to moving out of my parents’ house in the future. I know I’m capable of this, it’s just a long slow process, but that’s the nature of recovering from a traumatic brain injury. I have faith that it will happen.

Davine Lynnette Manson, Motivational Speaker & Founder of Divine Restorations, Inc.

Ms. Manson is in a life space that she never thought she would find herself. Through a domestic violence incident, she sustained a brain injury when she was struck over the head. For 19 years, Ms. Manson struggled and often did not recognize herself as she dealt with hatred for the man who did it to her. Finally, forgiveness allowed her to move on. Ms. Manson still has the TBI, the seizures, the headaches, but she is now able to have peace, which is why she started her own organization, Divine Restorations. Ms. Manson’s organization was created to help woman going through domestic violence. In her own words, “I am here to show women what strength and resilience look like. Through it all, we are not survivors we are thrivers.”

Devon Julien Sr.

A U.S Marine Corps Veteran, living with an Invisible Disability. Devon Julien Sr. sustained a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) while on deployment to Iraq 03’ in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom. While on security detachment of a small river boat, the detail started receiving indirect mortar fire from an undisclosed force. A close impact mortar blast knocked Devon backwards to which he hit the back of his head and was concussed. Even with protective equipment, he experienced headaches after waking. Later, when they returned to their command ship, he was only treated with Motrin as there was only a non-military nurse, and no visible signs of an open wound. Injuries went undiagnosed for 6-9 years which brought on other symptoms to include PTSD, and other secondary symptoms.

In seeking to be more educated about his injuries, Devon found BIAC in 2020. Not only was this beneficial from an education standpoint, BIAC became something greater in employing Mr. Julien to the role of Brain Injury Specialist, responsible for Helpline calls, matching resources to the needs of the caller, and to lend an empathetic listening ear. He further oversaw the BIAC Support Groups, on-boarding Facilitators, and various other roles in support of the organization. He would later go on to become a Veteran Service Officer 22’, working to support the disability rights and benefits of fellow service and family members that are victims to service-related injuries.

“My outlook on life is mirrored by the Marine Corps Ethos I attained many years ago, to learn as much about any situation or role, and become a multipurpose individual. Yes, my injuries make things difficult at times, but I’ve learned through spirituality to not give up hope, and trustworthy organizations such as BIAC in finding guidance on what treatments work best to support my specific needs. With those tools and being empathetic to the community of individuals I connect with; I am able to maximize my effectiveness and make a difference in their lives!”

Lydia Velez- Herrera (Lilly)

Lydia Velez-Herrera also known affectionately as Lilly, is President and CEO of Lilly sin Barreras/Lilly without Barriers LLC. After a brain injury and four long years to recovery, Lydia took on the mission to provide workshops and trainings on her strategies to live with her disability. Lydia has 30 years of proven success and experience of advocacy in the legal and social systems.

She provides one on one advocacy to clients who cannot afford a attorney and do not qualify for Legal Services. Lydia established radio and television shows in an effort to provide information to the community by interviewing guests who themselves have removed and overcome barriers from their own lives. Both channels are in English and Spanish. Lydia is proud of her Puerto Rican roots and works closely with her Latino(a) Community.

She has worked at several agencies that enhance the lives of Connecticut residents and improve life in their communities; she does this by learning from every individual and family she meets. Lydia has worked determinedly and tirelessly on Women’s Rights, Fatherhood, Child Support, Mental Health and Special Education issues. Lydia also serves on the BIAC Board of Directors.

Lydia’s journey began at Data Institute and traveled to Telemundo-Channel 13, Hispanic Health Council, Inc., Connecticut Women’s and Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), FAVOR, Inc., and Connecticut Legal Right Project. As she continues to touch the lives of those she meets along her journey, she forges a path that leaves a legacy and a trail that has positive outcomes for all!