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Name: Ross C.
City: Anderson, SC
Explanation of Mask: I was 16 when my wreck happened. January 15, 2003 is when it happened. I died twice but am now living my life the right way!!
I love any kind of hunting, I also love Clemson
I am a hardhead ( that is represented by a hammer)
I love Jesus
The eagle stands for freedom, both in this country and in my body. It’s time for me to accept that I may have a few disabilities but I have so much to give.
Name: Jason T.
City: Belton, SC
Explanation of Mask: My blood runneth orange and purple. I love my Tigers! I am very positive because I have faith. I am “ALL IN”
I will never look back because I am happy with the person I am. It is hard to remember the person I was. Short-term memory loss makes it difficult to remember five minutes ago.
I am living life with love, I see beauty in everything.
I feel that I am amazed and thankful to God that I am alive.
I can be a big flirt. I love to make people feel good about themselves. I am loaded with love!
“Cream of the Crop” is my way of saying that I strive each day to rise to the top of my abilities!
Name: Blaine M.
City: Williamston, SC
Brain Injury: In 2005, I wrapped my Pontiac Firebird around a tree. The roof of the car struck me in the head, causing a TBI Severe dysarthria means I must now communicate using a Samsung tablet.
Explanation of Mask: The black and yellow side represent life before the wreck. I had just enlisted in the US Army and completed boot camp two years before the wreck so I chose the athletic colors of the US Military Academy at West Point.The green on the other side represents growth, opportunity, and optimism. I chose this color because I believe my wreck was the rain in my life that God is using to grow me into the person I was created to be. It has provided me with the opportunity to grow into the person I am supposed to be. On the top right, I put the word ” stronger” because instead of making me angry and weak in self-pity, my wreck made me a stronger, more thankful person. At the top, I put the Hebrew name for God, Jehovah Jireh. This name means ” The Lord my provider”. Like I said, my wreck was a gracious provision of God to develop me into a tool for His unto His glory. Not only did He provide that opportunity, but He has given me the grace I need t see that purpose in the midst of the difficulty.
City: West Columbia, SC
Brain Injury: I was 42 years old and fell off of the toilet. I could not get right. I called my son. My son’s mother came and drove me to the hospital. I had suffered a stroke.
Explanation of Mask: My stroke was confusing because I did not know what was going on with me. I woke up on a Sunda evening and I could not move. My family were the ones who told me I had a stroke and a brain injury. I felt angry. My speech was gone.
Now I am determined to get my speech back and the strength back in my right arm and leg. I am powerful because I am regaining my speech. I am optimistic because I don’t know what my arm and eg are going to do, but I am willing to find out.
Name: India R.
City: Winnsboro, SC
Brain Injury: The explanation of this mask describes the after affects after having this brain injury. I am strong, compassionate, affectionate and positive. I have a very high self-esteem of confidence. I feel as if “God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers.” I’m becoming more independent over the years and even more heartwarming. ” Giving up is never an option” in my book, even when thing become rough. You just have to keep your head high and do things that are going to benefit you and your family. I want everyone with disabilities to stay strong and to remain confident.
Name: Shelia B.
City: Lugoff, SC
Brain Injury: I had a CVA while cooking breakfast for my nieces. I began to feel funny so I drove myself to the hospital. When I got there I could not speak. I slipped into a coma for 2 weeks.
Explanation of mask: When I woke up from my stroke. I had to be taught how to walk again and how to turn my head all the way to the right to see the whole room. It is like I am split in two. My right side is very heavy and my left side is normal. I have half of my vision but thank God I’m still here!
Name: Antonio G.
City: Columbia, SC
Brain Injury: I was in a bad car wreck.
Explanation of mask: Even though life has many changes, you don’t have to change unless you want to. The things that we go through in life are how it’s supposed to be. Everything happens for a reason. It’s either you want to win or you don’t, I made a choice to win and not lose.
Name: Berline M.
City: Columbia, S.C.
Brain Injury: I was 32 years old when I had my stroke. I also lost my vision during that time. I was in a coma for two weeks.
Explanation of mask: After my brain injury I was able to find my identity. I just did not know what to do. So no matter what comes your way you can always look up to our heavenly Father, we can still say thanks. In this fleshly body, you have to embrace the good and the bad. You know something, both the good and the bad can help us become more mature about life. It can also help our character of who we are today. Teaching us to not focus on the bad thing that has happened but to stay focused on the good thoughts and move forward. Always take time to sit back and look at the situation, look up and then look into oneself…Stay away from people with negative minds because you have enough on your plate. Remember, we all have different gifts, no need to compare oneself with others.
Name: Benjamin P.
City: Charleston, S.C.
Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury/Stroke
Explanation of mask: For my mask, I chose to use the colors gold, blue, red, purples and green. Each color serves its own purpose towards the mask. For example, the color gold was used to outline the hair of the mask as a symbol of my golden days. They are still here as long as I keep the faith and continues to progress daily. The color blue was used for the eyebrows to show the times where I feel lonely and depressed. The color red is used for a representation of all the blood that has been shed during the time of my accident. Purple, however, was used for the bags under the eye to show that I am really tired and worn out. The color green is displayed on the chin of the mask as a symbol of the financial burden this whole progress has placed on my life.
Name: Shawn B.
City: Columbia, S.C.
Brain Injury: My brain injury was sustained through driving under the influence of alcohol.
Explanation of mask: My mask symbolizes the ThinFirst Program in which I am VIP. The black which is over the mouth shows the damage to my speech that I sustained due to my car accident. However, it also symbolizes the voice I have gained by advocating for people with brain injuries and helping kids prevent them. The red represents the Unversity of South Carolina, in which I was in law school with and the black is the unfinished goals I feel I left behind.
Name: Eddie W.
City: Lexington, S.C.
Brain Injury: Acquired injury due to having a stroke.
Explanation of mask: Shows two shades of blue, while blue is my favorite color, that the lighter blue is the day to day thoughts I have. The white shows unfinished, the emptiness. The dark blue is a little darkness at times. But the yellow is the burst of sunshine that my family brings to my life.
Name: Brooke C
City: Rock Hill
Brain Injury: Motor Vehicle Accident
Explanation of Mask: The dark left side of my mask represents my life before my accident, which was going down the wrong path. The right side represents my life after my accident, which is given to God and now much more bright. I owe everything to God and I am so thankful He changed my life and saved me.
Brain Injury: Hit by a car in 2009-April 17th-TBI
Explanation of mask: Blue coloring all over the mask to show –Determined-to have a good life despite injury.
-Red eyes represent “frustration” – seeing things you wish you could do
-Yellow represents “quiet” – change after injury
Name: Laura V
Brain Injury: Ruptured AVM and hemorrhagic stroke (2006)
Explanation of mask: The mask is unfinished because I am a work in progress. The gray represents confusion and depression. The vibrant colors also show the unexpected joy the brain injury has also provided via relationships and personal growth.
Name: Les Paul M.
Brain Injury: 3 concussions, 2 brain aneurisms, coma survivor, AVM, cranial removal, 15 metal clips, and a porcelain plate in my head but still alive and kicking
Explanation of mask: The colors of paint the struggle of recovery. I am happy to have recovered to the best of my ability but I’m sad that society is still judging people with TBI.
Also our legislator and leaders have created a society of have and have nots in the disability community and especially need to end the Federal Marriage Penalty against people with disabilities.
Name: Luke and Lucky
Brain Injury: Luke- TBI from lack of oxygen to the brain in the early 2000s. It caused Luke to have a short term coma and travel an ongoing 17 year road to recovery.
Lucky- TBI from a bicycle accident without a helmet 5 years ago
Explanation of mask: The crossword puzzle represents all the answers are floating around in our head; but sometimes hard to from the answers. The eyes in the forehead represent the missing eyes in the mask; they are the true eyes. The hat is there, because we all wear a hat of some type. And the chompers represent our talk for nourishment and symbolizes our speech door.
Luke and Lucky are good friends. Lucky is an essential part of Luke’s rehab; and Luke helps Lucky with his rehab as a morale support. Lucky helps Luke ride a recumbent bike in Greenville, SC.
Name: Stephanie (mom of James)
Brain Injury: 9/28/13 motor vehicle accident
Explanation of mask:
There’s a lot going on in hi head that’s under lock and key.
It’s confusing/scary to deal with after effects from injury/chaotic why ?’s, why can’t thing work like they’re supposed to: walking, moving, talking
Name: Nicholas F.
Brain Injury: I fell from the top of a 2 story building crushing the back of my skull and fracturing the top 2 vertebrae in my neck. Massive frontal lobe trauma.
Explanation of mask: The fire represents paid. Bad wolf represents my calm happy place, and the blood splatter pattern represents all of the years I paid with blood to simply survive. The ninja mask represents my love of martial arts
Name: Sabrina K.
Brain Injury: Massive cerebral hemorrhage from AVM rupture in 2001
Explanation of mask: The left side that is green represents my life before the injury. It was good and normal but nothing special. The right side that is pink represents my life now. It’s my left side of my body that is paralyzed and reminds me of how blessed I am. It shows happiness and joy. Life after the injury is much sweeter!
City: Mt. Pleasant
Brain Injury: Misdiagnosed, wrong medications. Did not get the right medical help until permanent damage had occurred head to toe, “Dame bramage.”
Explanation of mask: This has been a metamorphic process thorugh trials of tears as I accepted my coccoonint towards recovery. Green to grow from being one person to another. “Yellow” is it “me” you’re looking for? Orange you glad to be alive? Feel your spiritual awakening to find a new purple paradise.
On the Los Amigo’s scale,
There is no pass,
There is no fail.
This complex trail we travel on,
Also has no magic wand!
Back and forth or up and down,
Weave new webs,
Achieve new ground.
A broken crown is on your head,
A sight unseen, grateful not dead!
Hope next exit for this chick-a-dee,
Thanks to all who stand by me.
What I will learn,
Where I will go,
God has my plan,
That’s all I know!
Brain Injury: TBI cause July 14, 2009 from a car accident
Explanation of mask: I feel appreciated because people trust me and respect me.
I am very loveable.
I am a wonderful uncle, brother, son, nephew, grandson.
I am proud to graduate high school.
I am determined to get my G.E.D.
I am hurt inside!
I am glad to be alive.
City: N. Augusta
Brain Injury: Roll over car accident my junior year in college
Explanation of mask: Van Gogh painted “Starry Night” from the window of his asylum room. It was just before sunrise and he added a village. So to me, it reminds me that even when you feel trapped inside, there’s always a sunrise and you can always change your view.
Name: Carly C.
City: Anderson, SC
Explanation of Mask: My mask represents how much I love life. Purple and orange are my favorite colors. They are vibrant and happy, just like me! I’m happy to be living a full life and I’m a strong person because I have fought many battles since my brain injury. I don’t always win, but I learn and become stronger through each battle Life is full of fun and love if you choose to seek it!
Name: Tony A.
City/State: Abbeville, SC
Brain Injury: Hit by a train in 2012
Explanation of mask: This is painted in black one side and white the other side. It includes the words big sexy and strong and happy. One left side is bright white wearing a smile; while the right side is black, crying and frowning.
Name: Stanley S.
City/State: Abbeville, SC
Brain Injury: Head on collision 5/2009
Explanation of mask: This is painted in green on top and black on the bottom. The words “happy, happy, happy”, “painful headaches”, “memory glitches”, “yucky”, “sleep”, “when you’re completely burned-out,” “Myth: your brain functions,” “knowing yourself” relates to all of the different aspects of surviving a brain injury for me.
Name: Lakeisha W
City/State: Greenwood, SC
Brain Injury: 4 Strokes beginning 2001 until 2004
Explanation of mask: This mask was painted in yellow on one side, black and red on the other side. It included the words: confident, radiant, speak out, power and beautiful. It included the slogan “make it happen.”
Name: Jake T.
City/State: Moncks Corner, SC
Brain Injury: Brain Abscess
Explanation of mask: Pride, doubt, fear, pain, free, anger, grateful, gracious. The blue stands for my silence for the first 17 years. The words are how I feel. The blank white in the mask represents a blank canvas in my story that I can fill in (the canvas), while the blue on the left side is still there to fade away as I grow.
Name: Tiffany L.
City/State: Union, SC
Brain Injury: Post-Concussion Syndrome
Explanation of Mask: The left side of my mask represents when my life was not perfect, but I was happy and took care of myself. The right side of my mask is how I felt after my accident. I was depressed and felt like a worthless burden to my family, but the bottom right is what got me through. The red balloon is everything I thought would be good for me, but it always flew away.
Name: Kyle C.
City/State: Fort Mill, SC
Brain Injury: TBI after motorcycle wreck 07/2016
Explanation of Mask: The dog and young girl represent my dog and my daughter. The blood on the forehead and temple show point of impact. “Good to go” quote shows that I am still alive. The cross represents my Christian faith. The music notes are for my love of music. The tears are for the struggle I went through. The “Knowledge” quote is a Bruce Lee quote. He is my idol.
Name: Yancey M.
City/State: Rock Hill, SC
Brain Injury: Stroke
Explanation of Mask: I am lucky and blessed because I had a stroke, but I am still here and able to do things. I am not paralyzed. I lost my speech and every time I want to talk there is confusion in my head. I don’t know why. I am determined and optimistic to get better.
Name: Barry M.
City/State: Greenville, SC
Brain Injury: Car Accident in 1982
Explanation of Mask: This depicts the many activities I’ve experienced since coming out of a coma. I believe that confidence and determination lead to my enjoying life. I had certainly undergone setbacks, but never have chosen to feel second rate.
Name: David A.
City/State: Greenville, SC
Brain Injury: Frontal Lobe and cerebellum surgery/fall during hospitalization
Explanation of Mask: I wanted people to understand what I am going through and what it took to bring me back. I also wanted people to understand that I did not cause my injury. The picture at the top shows my pain and anger. The bottom of the picture is how I felt at first (like a pit of hot lava). The words at the mouth are how I felt after I got support and help from my two girls and Vocational Rehab.
Name: Karen H.
City/State: Charleston, SC
Brain Injury: Car Accident 01/01/07
Explanation of Mask: After being hospitalized for six months and coming home, needing help to gain my independence back. I felt the highs and lows in life and was confused on how to get my independence back and get where I’d be happy and where I want to be.
Name: Bethany J.
City/State: Lexington, SC
Brain Injury: Viral Encephalitis
Explanation of mask: When I was 14 I got very ill with Viral Encephalitis (VE), which is how I got my brain injury. The side of the mask with the sun and rainbow symbolize my life before I got sick. The jagged red line symbolizes the 2 months that I was in the hospital, very ill. The other side of the mask symbolizes how my life is now. I’ve forgotten almost all of my life before I was 14. There are only very small, random memories of my life before I got sick which is what the black part with white lines in it represent. The upper part is grey because now my memory is very bad and I am always in a bit of a fog. The way I got VE is through a bug bite, which is what the bumble bee is. I now have epilepsy and never know when a seizure is going to strike which is what the storm cloud and lightening represent. The tears in the shape of hearts are because while I’m sad to have gotten my brain injury, causing my life to be changed so drastically, I’m thankful to still be alive and have such a great, supportive family that I know will always be there for me. I have a key and lock on my mask because I fee. Very locked into my current way of living because of my disabilities. So far my meds, the key to opening the locks, have not fit which is why they are different colors. Finally, I have a lot of small question marks because now I also have facial blindness causing it to be very difficult to remember names and faces. Most times I feel as though I’m meeting someone for the first time, even if we have already met multiple times.
Name: Cameron H.
City/State: Columbia, SC
Brain Injury: Skateboarding Accident
Explanation of mask: On the bottom of the mask, there are pictures that describe how I acted before my accident. Then my life was punched hard by a solid hand, just an inch from dying. From that accident it took a year before I could talk or remember anything. With the medicine, it partially helped me live, but the main thing that kept me living was God. With that, I continue growing and learning. My family, mama Lisa, Adrian, Kathy and many other people have helped me. With all that help, I believe that it is best to always use my mind, grow my body and to always think of God. All of this keeps me going.