Survivor's mission to educate about brain injury

Survivor's mission to educate about brain injury

(KYTX) - 2.4 million children and adults suffer brain injuries every year. It's a fact so many people don't know about, which is why the whole month of March is dedicated to Brain Injury Awareness. 

One East Texas woman's story of survival is inspiring people all over the world.

January 18, 2002 is the day that changed Patti Foster's life forever. She was driving with four friends to a bible study in Smith County, from Jacksonville where she lives.

"Bam! That's when the impact happened," Foster says. "A tractor trailer rig pulling a bunch of cars at 70 mph plowed into the back of our Tahoe."

Foster was ejected from the car, flying over the Tahoe and skidding onto the ground. She was careflighted to ETMC in Tyler.

Towards the beginning of her 6 week coma, doctors moved her to Baylor Hospital in Dallas. That's where she woke up, and started her life over again.

"Relearning all the basics of living," she says. "They had to teach me how to walk again. They had to teach me how to talk. I had forgotten ABCs, words."

Every day was a struggle, but after 12 years of therapy and re-learning, she is living every day to the fullest.

"They said I would never see again, never speak in complete sentences. I'm getting to live a miracle! So that's why I do what I do."

What she does, is travel all over the world speaking to different groups about brain injury, and beating the odds. 

"People need to know with brain injury, seeing is not believing. Just because we look normal doesn't mean our brain and those lobes are normal any longer," she says.

And vice versa - just because a brain injury patient looks different physically doesn't mean he or she can't communicate with you.

"I stay positive," she laughs. "I could bawl my head off and go crazy sometimes, but I try my best to laugh at myself and keep going."

Her goal is to help other brain injury survivors do the same.

"Don't give up. Don't stop. Don't quit." 

She says every time the public understands a little bit better, recovery for survivors gets a little easier. 

Patti Foster is speaking about brain injury in Tyler, Tuesday March 18! She will be at UT Health Northeast on Highway 155 from noon to 3 p.m. 

For more on Patti, head to her web site. Click here.  

You can also buy the book Foster wrote. It's called "Coping with Traumatic Brain Injury: One Woman's Journey from Death to Life." It's available on her web site in paperback or as eBook.

For more about brain injury recovery, click here.




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