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Hear their story, in their words, with their voice.
Johnny McGinn sustained severe head, lung and spinal cord injuries from a car accident resulting in a T1 level SCI in 1995. Now limited to a wheelchair, he attributes months of strenuous physical therapy and rehab, along with the love and support of family and friends for his recovery and adjustment to this lifestyle.
On February 2, 1997, Antonio Wright (Coach Wright) was in a serious motor vehicle accident. He was thrown from the car, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Tragically, one month later, his younger brother was murdered. Most people would be left with anger and resentment, but not Coach Wright. His mission became to help at-risk youth live better lives and to show people with disabilities that they can play major roles in society. His life experiences, and how he handles them, provide inspiration to everyone.
In May 2009, Laura Moon walked in the graduation ceremony at Ole Miss, needing only six more hours to complete her degree in Broadcast Journalism. She planned to finish those hours in summer school. However, those plans were abruptly altered in June 21, two days before her 23rd birthday, when Laura had a reaction to a medication, leading to respiratory arrest. By the time she got to the ER, she was in cardiac arrest and then coded. The loss of oxygen to her brain caused an anoxic brain injury. Today, after years of therapy, hard work and a loving family, Laura lives a pretty full life, but she will always need 24/7 care. In spite of her injury, Laura did finish her degree at Ole Miss and was awarded her diploma in 2017.
Charles Scott, Jr.
On October 11, 2010, Charles Scott, Jr. had a motorcycle accident and sustained a severe TBI. The doctors told his parents that he would probably not make it through the night. Months later, he still remained unconscious, and the doctors gave the Scott’s a list of nursing homes asking which one they would prefer. They responded that Charles, Jr. had a home; they just needed the medical equipment necessary to keep him there. So, they took him home, and in July 2011, the family realized that Charles was responsive. Nearly 12 years after his accident, he still receives therapy and prays to one day be able to complete his education and have a career. Miraculously, he has recently started walking with a walker. Charles is loved by all who meet him, and the family continues to thank God daily for the miracle that they have received.
On November 17, 2013, 16-year-old Robert Gaillet sustained a severe TBI, multiple fractures and other internal injuries in a one-vehicle accident on the Natchez Trace. Just a week prior, he won his second individual State Cross Country Championship, led Saint Andrew’s to the State Cross Country title and then played two soccer games, scoring the team’s first goal of the season. Robert wasn’t expected to make it through the night, but eight years later, the Gaillet family has been blessed with more time. Robert’s recovery is ongoing with many setbacks and struggles, including a stroke one week after the accident which compounded his other issues. He is still totally dependent but continues to make “baby steps” toward progress.
Don Zielenski joined the US Army at the age of 19 and was later deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. Don sustained his first TBI on August of 2011 when he was a gunner in an MATV that was hit with an 82mm projectile. He was awarded a Purple Heart for that incident. Then in November of 2011, Don was on a patrol, clearing buildings, when a pressure plate was activated, causing the building to collapse and the roof to cave in. Don sustained multiple injuries in that incident including a fractured skull, facial fractures, loss of his sight and hearing on the left side, collapsed lungs and numerous broken bones. He received another Purple Heart for that incident. Don has had over 17 surgeries so far. Despite these obstacles, Don has a never-give-up attitude and helps other survivors of traumatic brain injuries by telling his story.
Multiple TBI survivor - Vehicular Accidents - Ms. Amber Dooley Amber is a very courageous young lady who has survived two traumatic brain injuries. She sustained her first TBI at age 9 in a motor vehicle accident and from which she was not expected to survive. She brightens the support group during each meeting, and her story is relatable and very powerful.
TBI Survivor - Mr. Tony Henning Tony is a brain injury survivor who lives on the MS Gulf Coast. He works out every week with the hope of regaining more physical strength, and independence. He is enjoying the camaraderie in the support group meetings and encouragement offered by fellow survivors.