In 1963, when I was just a boy of two and the youngest of my family, my only brother Chuck, twelve at the time, suffered a
severe traumatic brain injury while playing little league baseball. That fateful day has influenced my life in an extraordinary way.
My immediate and extended family were impacted extremely negatively by the accident and termed it as a "tremendous loss". They had all lost the essence of a brother, cousin, nephew, son and grandson. I, on the other hand, had felt no loss, as I was too young to remember him prior to his accident. In my opinion, Chuck was a whole human being. He was kind, loving, generous, easy-going, witty and happy. Yes, he could be ornery,forgetful, somewhat socially inappropriate, obsessive, intense and angry at times, but still, this gentle giant was my big brother and had been no one else.
Later, many of my family members had wished the decision had been made to let my brother go; to let him die. Although I
empathized with my family and understood their loss, I was offended by this and felt a strong sense of betrayal; that they felt
Chuck’s life had turned tragic and meaningless; purposeless; valueless. At times, I feel sad for my family. By not involving
themselves, they had missed opportunities to receive many of his wonderful gifts and all Chuck offered.
After his accident,he had to begin again, and to the astonishment of Physicians, he did. Chuck soon learned to ambulate, speak, eat independently, and all we may take for granted. He became physically intact and quickly became a fairly high functioning individual.He drove a car, worked day jobs in the community and eventually married at age 33. Later, due to complications from his injury,Chuck resided in the specialized care facility for individuals living with brain injury I owned and operated from 1996 until 2003.
Sadly, my brother passed away at home in my facility in 2001.I feel extremely proud and honored I was “Chuck’s little brother”, friend, rival at times and caregiver. His gifts to me remain endless. I believe his life has helped to shape me into a kind, sensitive, compassionate and empathetic man with a true esoteric knowledge of the complex long‐term rehabilitation and human needs of individuals living with brain injury. I feel I also hold this same esoteric knowledge in understanding the often difficult physical, psychological and emotional challenges families’ face each day in caring for a survivor. I move forward in my professional life with intense purpose and a boundless determination to leave a positive impact upon the brain injury community.
Each day at the Center, I witness similar aspects of some of Chuck’s behavioral and social traits through several of our Participants. I am profoundly comforted by this and in knowing my brother would be very proud of the Cognitive Enhancement Center Program. His life had and continues to have, not only an extremely positive and purposeful affect upon me, but also on countless others in our community.