One Family’s Story of Brain Injury Speaks Out from Brooklyn…
New York City Council Members Letitia James and Gale Brewer joined filmmaker Kavery Kaul and Susan Michalowski from the documentary, at a special screening of Back Walking Forward at the renowned Brooklyn Museum.
In a lively post-screening Q&A, speaking for the American Public Health Association, Karen Goldman pointed out that this major medical crisis begs for policies for prevention. Clarence Chan representing the American Physical Therapy Association, reminded the audience how brain injury erases socio-cultural barriers in the shared uncertainty of altered lives. Brain Injury Association of New York State VP Timothy Pruce added his own experience as advocate and survivor to listeners who discovered that mild brain injury can go unnoticed but should not be misunderstood.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz awarded a Proclamation to filmmaker Kavery Kaul in recognition of her work. The Borough President declared this event on Sunday, March 18, 2012, to mark Brain Injury Awareness Month in Brooklyn, USA.
Back Walking Forward speaks for inclusion…
Levine Judaica expands its widely respected on-line catalog with Back Walking Forward, the first DVD selected for its new Health & Wellness/Special Needs section!
Back Walking Forward’s inspirational story of the impact of traumatic brain injury on one Jewish family raises important questions for discussion:
Shelly Christensen, Co-Founder of Jewish Disability Awareness Month comments, “I really appreciated the film so much. I was especially struck by the family and how this ‘event’ changed them all forever.”
How can Jewish educators, clergy and community leaders make individuals with special needs feel valued?
- How can people with disabilities and their families work together with others to build a sense of community?
AVAILABLE NOW for JCCS, Jewish organizations, synagogues, Jewish schools, colleges and campus organizations. For purchase details please click here.
The summer of Back Walking Forward…
Back Walking Forward gets the word out about traumatic brain injury! It’s been an amazing summer of screenings of our new documentary. Playing to capacity audiences, it traveled from Washington, D.C. to Canada, reaching viewers familiar with brain injury as well as those who want to learn about this major public health crisis of our times. Watching Eric and his family’s experience onscreen, film journalist Jennifer Merin called Back Walking Forward “an extraordinary and meaningful adventure.”
Loreen Arbus Productions sponsored a New York Women in Film & Television special screening of Back Walking Forward for industry professionals and their guests. At the Maysles Cinema in Harlem, Back Walking Forward reached the general public. At the Brain Injury Association of New York State, the documentary brought together an audience of survivors of brain trauma, both mild and severe. Co-hosting with Asia Society D.C., The Embassy of India launched the summer schedule while the Brain Injury Association of Canada closed the season with screenings that spotlight the international scope of brain injury, the prime cause of disability worldwide.
On September 24, Back Walking Forward heads for the World Congress on Disabilities in Atlantic City, a defining event in the disabilities and special needs community that brings together opinion leaders, scientists, researchers, physicians, caregivers and families. Putting a human face on the issues, Back Walking Forward makes a difference.
Back Walking Forward introduces the subject of brain injury to Sprout Film Festival…
Presented over a weekend at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Sprout Film Festival showcases groundbreaking films from many countries, about people with developmental disabilities. SFF was founded in 2003, to fight the media’s marginalization of this community. Today, its audience has grown to thousands and SFF has proven the significant value of bringing together a viewing public with and without disabilities.
Back Walking Forward is the first documentary on brain injury to be selected for screening at Sprout. SFF Founder and Executive Director Anthony DiSalvo says, “ I was very moved and enlightened by Back Walking Forward. … Kavery Kaul, the director, did an amazing job. The film goes beyond making people aware of brain injuries, which in itself is very important. It tells the story of a family’s sacrifice, determination and love.”
In Back Walking Forward, Eric’s brain injury resulted from a car accident when he was 19. If you or a member of your family sustained a brain injury prior to the age of 22 and you live in New York State, your injury is considered a developmental disability. A Family Advocacy Counseling and Training Services Program (FACTS) Coordinator at the Brain Injury Association of New York State can help you to understand and navigate NYS support systems and to find community support groups. It can make a difference.
Brain Injury Awareness Month: Beyond March….
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, a time to commit to the ongoing needs of the millions of brain-injured men, women and children who need greater access to care, and more aggressive care. In Back Walking Forward, Eric’s family finds themselves thrust into a strange, new world by this sudden injury caused by an external force. Today, with the rising number of brain injuries --- civilian and military, on the road and on the athletic fields --- many families find themselves in the same situation. Brain Injury Awareness Month is a time to call out for information and support for these families; medical and emotional care for the brain-injured; increased research on recovery from brain injury; greater congressional action on brain injury issues; public understanding of this “silent epidemic”; and a societal commitment to safety measures to prevent brain injury. Why? Because behind every brain injury is a person, like Eric, like any of us.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Starts Recovery: Susan Michalowski Remembers…
When Gabrielle Giffords was shot, my first response was to hope she was not badly injured. I had heard that 90% of the people shot in the head do not survive. Not very good odds at all. So I listened to news reports. I knew all those medical terms --- coma, medically induced coma, brain hemispheres, blood clots, brain swelling and the danger of more brain injury due to the swelling and pressure on the brain. I understood the tension of the family as they waited for the swelling to subside and for those first signs of emerging abilities. I remember the coma scale that measures eye, verbal and motor responses. Eric made no response --- for weeks. I knew the reason for commands to Giffords like "Squeeze my hand”. I understood that each command she was able to follow meant those pathways to the brain were working. Being able to hear, listen and follow simple commands was actually a monumental step towards recovery for her.
The Giffords shooting brought back how hard it was to have patience as we kept looking for signs of emergence from a deep coma and wondering if life would ever be sane again. After Eric’s brain injury, I was dazed, shocked, broken-hearted. I didn’t know if he was going to live or die. But there was no time for despairing. I needed to move ahead, to take care of his needs.… After almost a year in the hospital Eric was able to come home and we would try and return to being a family again, all of us at home. After 12 years the rehab still goes on and the small steps to recovery keep on coming.
Medical advances and early intervention are helping to keep more traumatic brain injury patients alive. Gabrielle Giffords is an extremely lucky lady, and her recovery so far has been amazing. But she has the long hard road of rehab ahead of her. We don’t know how far she’ll be able to recover and still be the same person she was. How much will she have to cope with? There are still a lot of ifs. It’s the brain and when it comes to the brain, nothing is etched in stone.
Praise for Back Walking Forward
Channel 12 – NYC
Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives
World Congress on Disabilities
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