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Brain injury survivors need more local support


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For more than three years, Ron Targett has been in darkness.

The Massey Drive man who suffered a brain injury from a fall in December 2010 is far from alone.

That darkness in Targett’s case is blindness — which is very common in people who suffer brain injuries — but there is also a lot of unknown and loneliness when it comes to related support and services. That is also something Targett relates to.

When a provincial brain injury association and a Corner Brook support group for such people are unaware the other exists, there is an obvious disconnect. The hope of both organizations is that will never be the case again.

Chava Finkler, the coordinator of programs and services for the Newfoundland and Labrador Brain Injury Association, was in Corner Brook to meet with the local stroke/brain injury support group.

 The association provides individual and systemic advocacy for things such as medical, physiotherapy, and income support. She can also help link people with housing, employment and education assistance.

Finkler quickly learned one of the biggest challenges in western Newfoundland is the services for people with brain injuries is found on the other side of the province in St. John’s.

Targett had to live about a year of his life in St. John’s receiving medical treatment and recovery at the Miller Centre. The man, who obviously had to relinquish his driver’s licence, was no longer able to provide for himself or his family through his career as a heavy equipment operator and truck driver.

The Targetts, whose son Neil is a member of Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case, were only able to manage financially through community support. He said the band hosted a fundraiser and there were other events locally in which the proceeds went to offsetting the costs associated with having to travel to St. John’s for help.

Although he was extremely grateful, Targett said that is not the way it should be.

“If there was something in Corner Brook, like a rehabilitation centre similar to the Miller Centre in St. John’s — everything is in St. John’s, I have always had a problem with that,” he said.

Finkler recognizes the challenge, and is preparing a letter to advocate for more mental health support outside of eastern Newfoundland.

“Many brain injury survivors, as well as family members, can experience psychological distress because of the injury and also because of the lack of support and care in the community,” she said.

For more than three years, Ron Targett has been in darkness.

The Massey Drive man who suffered a brain injury from a fall in December 2010 is far from alone.

That darkness in Targett’s case is blindness — which is very common in people who suffer brain injuries — but there is also a lot of unknown and loneliness when it comes to related support and services. That is also something Targett relates to.

When a provincial brain injury association and a Corner Brook support group for such people are unaware the other exists, there is an obvious disconnect. The hope of both organizations is that will never be the case again.

Chava Finkler, the coordinator of programs and services for the Newfoundland and Labrador Brain Injury Association, was in Corner Brook to meet with the local stroke/brain injury support group.

 The association provides individual and systemic advocacy for things such as medical, physiotherapy, and income support. She can also help link people with housing, employment and education assistance.

Finkler quickly learned one of the biggest challenges in western Newfoundland is the services for people with brain injuries is found on the other side of the province in St. John’s.

Targett had to live about a year of his life in St. John’s receiving medical treatment and recovery at the Miller Centre. The man, who obviously had to relinquish his driver’s licence, was no longer able to provide for himself or his family through his career as a heavy equipment operator and truck driver.

The Targetts, whose son Neil is a member of Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case, were only able to manage financially through community support. He said the band hosted a fundraiser and there were other events locally in which the proceeds went to offsetting the costs associated with having to travel to St. John’s for help.

Although he was extremely grateful, Targett said that is not the way it should be.

“If there was something in Corner Brook, like a rehabilitation centre similar to the Miller Centre in St. John’s — everything is in St. John’s, I have always had a problem with that,” he said.

Finkler recognizes the challenge, and is preparing a letter to advocate for more mental health support outside of eastern Newfoundland.

“Many brain injury survivors, as well as family members, can experience psychological distress because of the injury and also because of the lack of support and care in the community,” she said.

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