This week is Brain Injury Awareness week and we’ve been thinking a lot about Cindi and the progress she’s made at Waypoint. Cindi has both an Acquired Brain Injury and a Traumatic Brain Injury – Acquired was from what doctors believe to have been a mosquito bite and contracting Triple E in 2010, and Traumatic was from falling due to residual balance issues.
In Cindi’s life before her injury, she had been a barber at a Veterans Hospital doing cuts and shaves for over 350 patients, had gone to school to get her private detective license, was a part-time travel agent, had her commercial driver’s license and drove 18-wheelers for 5 years, and volunteered for her town as an EMT and Firefighter for 10 years! All while raising 4 children!
After her Encephalitis from what doctors believe to have been a mosquito bite in 2010, Cindi had cognitive issues, memory issues, balance issues, aphasia, and would get overstimulated easily. Things like people moving fast near her or driving in the car would throw off her vestibular and she would feel sick. She did months of intense therapy and rehab, used a wheelchair for a year, then moved to a rolling walker, and now still uses a cane to help with balance.
Last month, Cindi met with our friend, consultant, and market researcher, Mira, who is helping tell Waypoint participants’ stories and told her what made Waypoint different from other organizations she had been with in the past. She told Mira how refreshing it was that Waypoint was a teaching organization. She said, “They know that I have memory problems, but want to be able to hike on my own. They help me get there.”
What we love about hearing Cindi’s story is that it reminds us that we’re in the business of amplifying people’s true selves. Before her injury, Cindi was someone who liked to be bold, adventurous, try new things, and loved to learn. And after her injury, Cindi has the same love for adventure and living life to the fullest! She may need support with balance, memory, judgement,
and confidence, but she’s making progress to be able to hike on her own and she’s already planning more backpacking trips this summer with her son!