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Faces Of Hope

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#Canada150 – The Faces of Brain Injury in Canada

What if you survived a horrendous accident and could not get the services and supports you needed once discharged from hospital? It happens more often than you know and to large numbers of people.

From 1989 – 1990, I lost three important people in my life to brain injury. First, my brother (39 years old) died two weeks after suffering a subarachnoid hemorrhage. In 1990, my husband (37 years old), a police officer in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) died five months after suffering a brain injury in a police motorcycle crash.

Two weeks before my husband died, my good friend Ruth (43 years old) died 3 years after sustaining a brain injury from being hit by a car while using a crosswalk.  Brain injury survivors back then were greatly under-served and sadly, little has changed.


Hopelessness, grief, loss and lack of innovation no longer have to be our community story. Let’s move forward together. ~ Janelle Breese Biagioni, The Hope Generator


After my husband died, I made a life altering decision. Instead of taking much deserved time off, I chose to fight for those that live with the ongoing daily effects of brain injury. Let’s be clear, while my story is bleak, the reality is that most brain injury survivors go on to live a normal life expectancy and therefore require support, education and help. I’ve been on a personal mission for over 20 years to make some noise and bring brain injury to the forefront in this country to ensure the necessary help is facilitated for survivors..

CANADA 150 – A Hope Generator Project

This year, Canada celebrates its 150th birthday and I felt that placing a spotlight on inspiring Canadians who survived a brain injury and work hard each day to rebuild and redesign their lives would be a perfect way to honour them. The unveiling of the Canada 150 project, featuring 150 Canadian survivors over 150 days was an inspired labour of love.   Brain Injury Canada is also in support of this popular initiative that has now gone viral on social media.



Why do we need to increase awareness?

Each year, approximately 166,000 new brain injuries occur in Canada.  The total continues to mount to the point that we now have OVER a whopping 1 million Canadians living with some form of brain injury. To put it into perspective, the number of Canadians living with a brain injury surpasses that of spinal cord injury, Multiple Sclerosis, breast cancer, and HIV/Aids combined!

Brain injury remains the orphan in our healthcare system. A lack of ownership currently exists around this issue within each area of the system, each falsely assuming that the other is seeing to its proper handling.  Basically, the ball has been dropped or not even picked up in many instances.   I challenge you to take a look at the stats depicting the amount of homeless and prisoners currently in the system and the circumstances surrounding them:

●Over 50 % of the homeless in Canada have a brain injury and over 70% of them became homeless AFTER suffering a brain injury

●An estimated 80% of those incarcerated have a brain injury and approximately 60% of them sustained their first brain injury as a child and often from abuse

●It costs approximately $50,000 per year to support each homeless person in British Columbia

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Brain Injury, Mental Health & Addictions

Mental health issues and addiction are both challenging and devastating for many people. Brain injury is often the root cause associated in these instances.  The journey now becomes about finding sustainable solutions to help close the gap if we are to offer well defined help for those in struggle.  Increased awareness across our country is a major first step in making significant change. Brain injury is a crisis in Canada and it can no longer be ignored.


Stand Up, Be Counted and Make Some Noise with Me

I am willing to do the work, but I still need your help. If you know of a Canadian living with a brain injury, or you are a survivor of brain injury yourself and would like to be a part of this important project, please connect me with your details I will post your photo to The Hope Generator Facebook page. I will need a high resolution photo, your name, the city and province you live in and the cause of your injury.  Please email them to:

You may view all recent and future Canada 150 posts on Facebook at: The Hope Generator


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