Amy Fedel Memorial Concert

BIAMI is privileged to be part of the 20th anniversary Amy Fedel Memorial Concert, to be held at 7:30 pm, September 22nd, at the Greenwood United Methodist Church, 1001 Green Road, Ann Arbor, MI. Music will be provided by the Bonfire Poets, Five Miles More, Patti Jarosz, Katie Geddes, David Vaughn, and Jeff and the Deck Chairs.

This multi-performer instrumental and vocal concert memorializes 8-year old Amy Fedel, killed by a drunk driver. Amy’s sister, Lisa, suffered a closed head injury in the same accident and continues to progress.

Tickets are available at the door with the recommended tax-deductible donation of $15.00 for adults and $3.00 for kids. All funds benefit the BIAMI, MADD, and the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan. Since 2008, over $7,000 has been raised through the event, and we strongly encourage your support. For more information, visit The Amy and Lisa Page.

BIAMI President Tom Constand on WJR

During the 2018 Eastern Grand Invitational, BIAMI President/CEO Tom Constand sat down with WJR's Frank Beckmann for an interview. You can listen to by clicking the play button in the audio player above.

MI-DSA to Bring Informational Presentations to Voters with Disabilities

Advocacy has been and will always be a cornerstone of the Association. As such, we joined with a number of organizations last year to form the Michigan Disability Support Alliance (MI-DSA) to fight the ACA repeal and protect Medicaid. All involved were cognizant of the fact that we will need to work on the state level, not only to preserve crucial programs like Medicaid, but also ensure the well-being of Michigan residents living with disabilities.

This year, MI-DSA has developed an initiative to educate and encourage those living with disabilities to vote in the upcoming primaries and election. Beginning in August, MI-DSA members will be hosting presentations across the state to explain why it is important to vote; the rights granted to those with disabilities in regards to voting; the responsibility all voters share; and issues regarding accessibility at polling places. There will also be the opportunity for people to register to vote.

Since last year, MI-DSA has grown from three organizations to eleven. Partner organizations now include the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Disability Rights Coalition, Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council, Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan, Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services, ARC of Michigan, Self-Advocates of Michigan, Michigan Disability Networks, and Wayne State Developmental Disability Institute. With threats to repeal the ACA and cut funding to Medicare and Medicaid, disability organizations must join together to fight for all persons living with disabilities and their families who rely on these programs and protections granted by the ACA.

Survivor Spotlight: Jodi Byers

Kindergarten teacher, brain injury survivor, and newly crowned Mrs. Michigan America 2018, Jodi Byers is using her pageant platform to help BIAMI raise awareness of brain injury and tell her dramatic story to the public and survivor community.

While working at a church camp following her sophomore year at Hope College, Jodi fell and hit her head twice, once on a counter during the fall and again on the concrete floor. Her initial reaction was that it was just a concussion, nothing of any real concern. She immediately returned to working at the camp and flew home a week later.

The extent of Jodi’s injury did not start to manifest until after she returned home and her condition then worsened to the point where she had to take a semester off from college. Jodi was unable to read beyond five minutes without her vision blurring and had difficulties with pattern recognition. Additionally, she had short-term memory loss, issues with perception, and daily migraines. Any single one of these ensured that collegiate study was impossible until she had recovered, and Jodi struggled with them all at once.

As a normally positive and upbeat young woman, Jodi’s physical, cognitive, and psychological challenges made that outlook almost impossible to maintain. “I had a month of falling into deep depression because I didn't think life would ever become the same. I have been blessed with an amazingly supportive family and if it weren't for them, I don't know what I would have done!” Her condition led to a reexamination of her life and goals, and during this period she realized she wanted nothing more than to help others become the best possible versions of themselves. It is what she felt she was meant to do. Through this realization, she found the strength and resolve to work toward recovery.

Six months later, Jodi was back in college. Since then, she graduated from Hope College, was married, competed and won the title of Mrs. Michigan America 2018, and will soon be competing for the national title of Mrs. America. Since her recovery, Jodi has been dedicated to raising awareness for brain injury. Even before competing for Mrs. Michigan America, she started an online concussion group through Facebook called “Maintain the Brain.” Best of all, today she no longer experiences lingering effects of her brain injury. When asked, Jodi recognizes how unique her recovery was. “I am blessed to have no reoccurring symptoms, but many survivors still do. Therefore, I urge people to be patient, be supportive, and offer grace to fellow brain injury survivors.”

Lids for Kids

No one debates the importance of wearing a helmet when riding a bike, but hardly anyone knows just how critical this one piece of safety equipment is in preventing injury. So here’s a relevant statistic: Roughly 88% of bike-related brain injuries and deaths could be prevented by wearing a properly fitted helmet.

That’s the good news. What’s not so good is the percentage of bikers who actually wear helmets. That statistic is a sobering 18 percent. And even worse, only 15 percent of bikers under the age of 15 wear helmets.

It’s the disjunction between the effect helmets have in preventing injuries and saving lives, on one hand, and the number of riders who actually use them, on the other, that prompted the Sinas Dramis Law firm to conceive and develop the Lids for Kids program. “In serving victims of vehicle accidents, which includes bicyclists,” reported Tom Sinas of the Sinas Dramis firm, “we saw firsthand the dangers posed by forgetting or even refusing to wear a helmet. We want people to wear helmets and we know this habit must be cultivated at an early age.”

The statistics cited above are also what prompted the BIAMI’s interest in participating with Sinas Dramis as a co-sponsor. “As the conduit between brain injury survivors and Michigan’s extensive and outstanding network of brain injury professionals, we witness the impact of brain injury every day and have recognized the importance of prevention from day one,” said BIAMI President Tom Constand. “When our friends at Sinas Dramis discussed the prospect of BIAMI co-sponsoring these events, there wasn’t a second’s hesitation on our part. It completely aligns with our mission to reduce the incidence and impact of brain injury, and we’re proud to play a part in the continued and overwhelming success of this program.”

Lids for Kids is a bike helmet giveaway and helmet-fitting program that serves kids in underserved neighborhoods. Since the program began in 2003, more than 10,000 bike helmets have been donated and the event has expanded from Lansing to also include helmet giveaways, trained volunteer fittings, and bike raffles in Traverse City and Grand Rapids. Recent events have even become community fun fests, with face-painting booths, prizes, police and fire department activities for kids, mascot visits, and live radio remote broadcasts. This caliber of success for Lids for Kids would not be possible without the support of local partners – BIAMI members Agevix in Traverse City, Origami in Lansing, and Mary Free Bed and Hope Network in Grand Rapids – not least because their staff member volunteers play key roles in the continued growth of this amazing program.

2018 has been the program’s most successful year to date with a combined total of over 1500 helmets given away and properly fitted. That’s a statistic worth bragging about, which is why the BIAMI would like to thank all Lids for Kids event sponsors, partners, and volunteers – with a very special thank you for the foundational efforts of Sinas Dramis and their ongoing and very much hands-on work in program administration, logistics, personnel, and financial support!

There’s clearly a long way to go in promoting widespread bike helmet use and ultimately reducing the number of bicyclist injuries and deaths, but efforts such as Lids for Kids are indeed having an impact on the statistics and keeping our very youngest riders in particular safe from bike-related head injuries.

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