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IMPORTANT -This site does not dispense medical advice. Brain injury is a serious medical condition requiring treatment by medical professionals. Please consult your physician immediately if you have concerns about your health.

Meet Our Contributors

Brain injury can strike in an instant, forever changing lives of survivors and those who know and love them. HOPE Magazine has quickly become a voice of the brain injury community. All of our magazine contributors have been touched in some way by brain injury - some as survivors, others as family members and others as members of the professional and support communities.

Without our amazing team of writers, there would be no magazine, and no end to the "aloneness" that so many feel. It is with deep appreciation and heartfelt gratitude that I present our contributing writers.

Emily Rose Amner

Emily Rose Amner is a student, author, wife, and traumatic brain injury survivor. In September 2013, she was in a head on car collision that left her with two broken ligaments and a Traumatic Brain Injury. She has created a blog site at to share her story. Emily is currently working towards her Bachelor’s Degree at Washington State University Vancouver and hopes to become a medical doctor. 

Haley Anderson

Haley Anderson is a 19 year old college sophomore from Seattle, Washington. She’s two years out from her TBI and has handled every obstacle it has thrown at her with grace. Haley always has a smile on her face and her happy personality is infectious. She loves living in the Pacific Northwest and enjoys hiking, rock climbing, rowing, and camping. 

Sierra Badgley

Sierra Badgley is a sixteen year old brain injury survivor from a small town in Ontario, Canada. She will be attending Grade 11 this September. Ever since her accident, she has made it her mission to spread awareness and to advocate for brain injury survivors everywhere. Advocating is just one part of Sierra. On a daily basis she likes to run, ride dirt bikes, blog, and cook healthy meals. Since her accident, her main focus has been working towards achieving her goal of becoming a police officer. 

Nancy Bauser

Nancy Bauser is a disability life coach and the owner of Trauma Recovery Expert LLC. Over forty-three years ago – in 1971, Nancy sustained a severe closed head/brain stem injury while attending undergraduate school. Nancy’s interests include writing, exercising, long distance walking and being with friends and family. You can read more of Nancy’s work here:

Nicole Bingaman

Nicole has worked in the human service field for over twenty years. Since Taylor’s injury Nicole has become an advocate and spokesperson within the TBI community, speaking at conferences, trainings and events for professionals and lay people to understand the impact of TBI within a family. Nicole’s book Falling Away From You was published and released in 2015. 

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Stacia Bissell

Stacia Bissell is a native of Berkshire County in Western Massachusetts. She studied mathematics at Wells College in Aurora, New York and earned a Master’s in Education degree from Cambridge College. Stacia now speaks to various audiences on the topic of brain injury. In addition to being a keynote speaker for a number of organizations, she is a co-facilitator of the Northampton Brain Injury Support Group and a founding member of the Berkshire Brain Injury Collaborative. 

Patrick Brigham

Welcome to the Wacky World of Patrick Brigham. Patrick Brigham is our Cartoonist in Residence for TBI Hope and Inspiration Magazine. Patrick hails from a self-described dimension of untamed nuttiness. And while Patrick does not have a brain injury (or at least denies having one to those closest to him) his off-beat humor is sure to resound in our TBI community. Hope, our cartoon mascot, will grace every issue of our publication.

Kelly Buttiglieri

Kelly received her B.A. degree with honors from Boston College in 1989 and J.D. degree with honors from Suffolk University Law School in 1994. She is married, has a sixteen year old son and eleven year old daughter. Kelly has worked for the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIA-MA) for eight years. She now is exclusively working as an Advocacy Associate for BIA-MA.  

John Byler

John survived a collision on Route 495 just outside of Boston in September of 2005. He placed his recovery in the hands of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. John knew he needed to write a book about the best of the strategies he learned. "You Look Great!" -Strategies for Living Inside a Brain Injury has resonated with survivors, caregivers and clinicians.

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Laura Chagnon

Laura Chagnon is a freelance poet and brain injury survivor. Laura Chagnon continues to craft poetry each day with plans on publishing her second book of poetry. Laura’s book is available on Barnes & Noble.

Lisa Cohen

On May 20, 2014, Lisa had brain surgery where doctors removed a tumor 2.7cm, about the size of a walnut, from her cerebellum. At the time of her surgery I was only 23 years old and was not prepared for the recovery that was to come. She spent nine days in the hospital and was eventually released to the care of my parents. Her story is about overcoming an obstacle in life, becoming a stronger person and learning to be more than just a survivor.

Virginia Cote

Virginia has been running her own boarding and grooming kennels for 50 years. Rod is her only child. “It may sound strange to some of you but my experience in training dogs has turned out to be helpful in this new challenge,” she shares. Another love of mine is hiking. Walking turned out to be a good place to start on rebuilding Rod’s confidence. This experience with Rod has not inhibited my life it has enriched it.

Randy Davis

Randy is a traumatic brain injury survivor, and honorably discharged member of the Army reserves. When he’s not out climbing mountains, Randy can be found helping others within the brain injury community.

Amiee Duffy

Amiee M. Duffy is the proud mother of three children. She has been teaching for over twenty years and is looking forward to using what she has learned about Executive Function and Working Memory in order to better serve all students in her classroom. Amiee is a regular contributor to TBI HOPE Magazine. 

Darron Eastwell

Darron Eastwell is a brain injury survivor from Queensland, Australia. The survivor of a 2015 mountain biking accident, Darron has emerged with a strong desire to serve those within the brain injury community. Darron and his wife Bianca share their love for their two children and have embraced their new life together.

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 Grant Evans

Grant was born in a town called Barrow-in-Furness, which is located just south of the lake-district in North West England. Grant spent the majority of his life in Barrow-in-Furness, apart from 7 years as a child in Sydney, and the last 5 years of his life in Brisbane, Australia. He enjoys living in Brisbane because it has such a relaxed vibe and has made some amazing friends there – friends for life!

Lauren Fender

Lauren is a volunteer at Beth Israel Deaconess in Plymouth, and South Shore Women's Resource Center in Plymouth. She considers herself blessed to have these opportunities. She speaks about her story at driver’s education classes in New Bedford, MA in high school health classes, and at DUI classes in Quincy MA at Bay State Facility. Today she is working with the Brain Injured Direct Care at 7 Hills Foundation

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Donna O’Donnell Figurski is a wife, mother, and granny. She is a teacher, playwright, actor, director, writer, picture-book reviewer. January 13, 2005, Donna became the caregiver for her husband and best friend, David. Donna had never heard of “TBI” before David’s cerebellar hemorrhage. Donna spends each day writing a blog, called “Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury,” preparing her radio show, “Another Fork in the Road,” on the Brain Injury Radio Network.

Ron Gains

Ron exceeded all medical expectations and survived a massive Sub Arachnoid Brain Hemorrhage. Ron and his wife live and work together having bought a village Post Office with a general store attached. “Retirement from Management in the Motor Trade initially was hard but now me and my ‘rock’ Jayne work side by side and life really is pretty fantastic,” says Ron.

  David A. Grant

David is the founder and publisher of HOPE Magazine. He is a freelance writer and the author of Metamorphosis, Surviving Brain Injury. In 2010, David was struck by a car while cycling. In brutally honest detail, David’s 2012 memoir chronicles the challenges he faced during the days and months immediately following his injury. David is also a staff writer for as well as a former contributing writer to Brain Injury Journey Magazine.

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Lydia Greear

Lydia Greear lives in Florida with her husband of 40 years, Asa. They have three children together, and six grandchildren. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Kentucky. She is a licensed fitness instructor and certified personal trainer, and is also an active member of the Anastasia Baptist Church in St. Augustine. Lydia enjoys traveling, and has spent 14 years living in Paris, France, Benin and Côte d'Ivoire.

Cheryl Green

Cheryl Green, MFA, MS integrates her degrees in Performance as Public Practice and Speech-Language Pathology to explore how story can be used to break down stigma and barriers through film, podcasting, and blogging. 

Tris Greenman

Tris is caregiver to her husband, Tim, in Southwest Michigan. She also works full-time as an accountant and tries to keep their lives on an even keel and regular schedule. She and her husband enjoy fishing, gardening and spending time with the grandbabies. “TBI has taught me to have infinite patience and to appreciate friends and the therapy community so much more!”

Natalie Griffith

Natalie was brought back to life, given a second chance at life on Christmas Day. She has been working on relearning how to be a mom and interact with her children. Say’s Natalie, “I love to make things pretty, BEAUTIFUL, so I have started a cleaning organizing straightening job, bathrooms & kitchens are my specialty. Never, never, never give up!”

Donna Hafner

Donna is a survivor in the truest sense of the word. Coming back from near death and living life as a brain injury survivor have validated why those closest to her know her by her nickname – Resilynt. 

Garin Haskins

Garin shares that he doesn’t remember much about his life before his TBI because he was only 11 years old when he was injured. Garin enjoys spending time at his church and occasionally visits with local friends. He is grateful to share his experience as a brain injury survivor.

Justine Johnston Hemmestad

 Justine is a wife and mother of 7 children, ages ranging from seven to twenty-three. She’s just earned her BLS degree from The University of Iowa, and she will pursue a graduate degree in literature through Northern Arizona University. She is the author of Truth be Told, a story that mirrors the author's recovery from brain injury.

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William Herron

Raised in small town Perry, Ohio, William served four years in the United States Navy before leaving to graduate Lake Erie College. He is blessed to be the father of Arianna, his beautiful 2 year old daughter. He enjoys working at Downs Designs Dreams where he gets the chance to help families find proper fitting, fashionable, clothing that allows for independent dressing every day using their Adopt-a-Jean Program

Nancy Hueber

Nancy Hueber, a professional pianist, wife, mother, and frequent visitor to her couch and bed, survived a near baseball-sized brain tumor (meningioma) in the middle of her brain, and its removal by craniotomy six days later. In 2012, Nancy and her husband Tom established a brain injury support group in their town in northeast Missouri, now affiliated with the Brain Injury Association of Missouri.

Amanda Isley

The October, 2016 issue of TBI Hope Magazine welcomed Amanda as a first-time contributor. It is her hope that by sharing her own experiences as a brain injury survivor that she can help others to know that they no longer walk alone after traumatic brain injury. 

Mike Jennings

Mike Jennings is a TBI survivor and has been a Support Group Facilitator for BIAC since 2005. Previous to his injury he served as a project engineer for Hamilton Sundstrand. Mr. Jennings currently serves on the Aging & Disability Commission for the Town of Simsbury and on the Board of Directors for New Horizons Village, an assisted living complex in Unionville, CT.

Ric Johnson

Ric Johnson is a husband of thirty-six years and a father of two adult children. Ric sustained his traumatic brain injury over twelve years ago. He is also a member of the Speaker Bureau for the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance, and facilitator for the Courage Kenny Brain Injury Support Group.

Jen Kalashian

Jen Kalashian, B.S., is working at Lakeview Specialty Hospital and Rehab in Waterford, WI for the past 9.5 years in the capacity of CNA, CBIS, Community Volunteer Advocate, Events Coordinator and back-up facilitator for the monthly Brain Support Injury Group, the Survivors. 

Nathalie Kelly

Nathalie Kelly was a Board-Certified Hypnotherapist before her TBI. Nathalie now publishes a blog at, and she speaks publicly about brain injury. She has educated others about brain injury on the radio, news, and the Oprah Winfrey Network. This month, she is launching her new YouTube Channel and Website, as a gift to brain injury survivors.

Dr. Katherine Kimes

Dr. Katherine Kimes has a Master’s Degree in Literary and Technical Writing from DePaul University. She also has a Master’s degree in Transition Special Education with an emphasis in acquired brain injury and a Doctorate in Special Education also with a concentration in acquired brain injury, both degrees confirmed by George Washington University. 

Scott LaPoint

Dr. LaPoint has more than 20 years’ experience in the field of brain injury, from peer advocate, job coach, and life skills specialist to certified nursing assistant, program coordinator, and Licensed Professional Counselor. 

Karen Leavitt

Karen Leavitt is an inspiration to all who know her. A career nurse for many years, she is a natural caregiver, leader and educator. Karen is the author of the highly acclaimed new book, The Resilient Soul. She is always striving for more, both personally and professionally. 

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Lori Lee

Lori is a 53 year old single woman and mom of a 20 year old son. She is also a former essayist and horsewoman having ridden both English and Western. She is hoping to get back in the saddle next year. She is currently on disability and working hard on her recovery. She is getting back to her writing and moving towards being a life coach and advocate for adults, children, and families with TBI or anxiety and depression.

  Sara Lewis

Sara E. Lewis, M.A., M.B.A, M.S., has lived an eclectic life, skipping from jobs in museum management, to business management to education to healthcare. She is married, has four children, four grandchildren, and a dog. She is dedicated to spending the rest of her brain-injured life doing whatever she can to help persons with brain injury.

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Sandra Madden

Sandra A. Madden, a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University is a photographer and writer, a Special Events Coordinator at the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIA-MA), and a brain injury survivor. Her sole publishing project, Hearts All Around Us, is available NOW and ready to ship! 

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Brian Maram

Brian Maram is a Traumatic Brain Injury / stroke survivor from Johannesburg, South Africa. Brian takes pleasure in motivating other stroke and TBI survivors. He is in the process of writing a book about his journey and is a regular contributor to HOPE Magazine. 

  Andrew Marr

 Marr is a former Special Forces Green Beret, founder of Warrior Angels Foundation, an organization whose sole purpose is to stop the deaths of veterans suffering from PTSD symptoms caused by traumatic brain injuries. He joins us today to share that solution with you in the hopes that we can slow if not altogether stop the twenty-two veterans a day who are committing suicide thinking there is no hope or help for them. There is hope, and there is help. 

Dawne McKay

Dawne started her career as a legal secretary and for the last 15 years has worked in the healthcare industry. In 2012, she was a survivor of a life changing automobile accident. She is the creator of an online Motor Vehicle Accident Support Group that recently went live this past April 2016. This is a closed group on Facebook designed to bring victims together to share their story, share information, resources and emotional support. Dawne’s advocacy work continues.

Joan Miller

Joan Miller lives in Portland OR with John, her Husband of 23 years. In addition to her busy speaking schedule, she volunteers at Oregon Impact and Good Samaritan Hospital. Joan is well known in the Portland Oregon vicinity for her passion for teaching people to find significance in their lives and to recognize the value they have to offer. 

Terri Mongait

Terri Mongait is a Trauma & Transitions Recovery Specialist. She is also a traumatic brain injury survivor and has personal knowledge of the journey to recovery. Terri has over 20 years of experience in the corporate world at The Walt Disney Company and now uses her skills to help others. To learn more about Terri’s work with horses, visit

Norma Myers

 Norma is an advocate for those recovering from traumatic brain injury. Her written work has been featured on, a multi-media website that serves the brain injury community. Her family continues to heal.

Bonnie Nish

Bonnie Nish is founder and Executive Director of Pandora’s Collective Outreach Society a charitable organization in the literary arts based in Vancouver British Columbia. She is also Executive Producer of the Summer Dreams Literary Arts Festival, an outdoor festival now in its tenth year. Bonnie’s newest book, “Concussion and Mild Brain Injury: Not Just Another Headline,” is now available.

Drew Palavage

Drew takes pride in being a good husband and father. He was/is also a fierce competitor and works hard every day. Right now he enjoys working out and maintaining his home.

Craig Phillips

Craig J. Phillips sustained an open skull fracture and a severe traumatic brain injury in 1967 when he was only ten years old. Today, Craig possesses an undergraduate degree in theology and physical education / recreation as well as a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. He continues to motivate and inspire others.

Wendy Proctor

Wendy is a traumatic brain injury survivor from Belleville, Ontario Canada and is still learning and growing through her art.

Rosemary Rawlins

Rosemary Rawlins is the author of Learning by Accident, A Caregiver's True Story of Fear, Family, and Hope. She is also Editor of BrainLine blogs and a national speaker on caregiving topics. You can learn more about her at:

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Lora Reynolds

Lora Reynolds is an aspiring writer from West Virginia. She is currently employed as a grant writer for a small non-profit in Lewisburg, WV. Her interests include writing, the outdoors, being with family and friends and her cat Mika. Her experience with the brain injury community comes from volunteer work with the Brain Injury Group of Southern West Virginia. 

Melissa Robison

Melissa holds a Bachelor’s In Accounting and Master’s Degree in Technology Management, she is a recipient of the Massachusetts Women in Public Higher Education Award, and a featured Student of the Week at Bridgewater State University. 

  Doug Rowe

 Nicole has worked in the human service field for over twenty years. Since Taylor’s injury Nicole has become an advocate and spokesperson within the TBI community, speaking at conferences, trainings and events for professionals and lay people to understand the impact of TBI within a family. Nicole’s book Falling Away From You was published and released in 2015. 

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Micki Scherwinski

Micki currently resides in West Bend, Wisconsin. When she’s not out running marathons, Micki Scherwinski is a college student at the University of Wisconsin. 

Deborah Schlag

 Deborah Schlag is the author of the award-winning book Becoming the Healer, The Miracle of Brain Injury. Deborah lives in North Carolina with her husband where she has founded Awakenings Center For Inner Healing & Empowerment – a non-profit healing center to bring healing to others and empowering them to move forward in their own healing process.

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Jeff Sebell

 A long-time survivor, Jeff is the author of “Learning to Live with Yourself after Brain Injury.” You can read more about Jeff and his journey on his blog at

Jeff's book, Learning to Live with Yourself after Brain Injury, is available for sale here

Ted Stachulski

Ted Stachulski is a former multi-sport athlete, Marine Corps Veteran, Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor, creator of the Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor Guide. Ted is also a Veterans Outreach Specialist and an advocate for brain injury survivors, their family members and caregivers. 

Barbara Stahura

A Certified Journal Facilitator, she has guided people in harnessing the power of therapeutic journaling for healing and well-being since 2007. She presents or has presented journaling events for state Brain Injury Associations/Alliances. Co-author of the acclaimed After Brain Injury: Telling Your Story, the first journaling book for people with brain injury, she lives in Indiana with her husband, a survivor of brain injury. 

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Valerie Jo Smith

Valerie is a mother of two adult children and a very happy grandmother. Her TBI journey began in August, 1989, after she was in an automobile accident that resulted in a closed head injury (brain injury). The head swelling caused a blood vessel to rupture, resulting in a cardiovascular accident. The result was that her whole body paralyzed on the left side. She lives a life that includes sharing her experiences with others.

Carole Starr

Carole is a motivational brain injury speaker as well as both Founder and Facilitator of Brain Injury Voices. She can be contacted through the Brain Injury Voices website at

Michael Strand

As a survivor who has lived with brain injury since 1989, Michael shares his experience though his written work including several books and his brain injury blog. Michael is also a Chicken Soup for the Soul contributing writer.

Jessica Taylor

Jessica E. Taylor is the author of the books 'The Journey Back' and 'From Tragedy to Triumph: Journey Back from the Edge'. She is an activist for Head Injury Awareness, and was honored to have been featured in the Betty Clooney Center Newsletter, March 2013. She was also featured on the Hidden Heroes documentary film on Canadian TV as well as several National TV and radio chat shows in both the North and South of Ireland. 

Janice Tindle

Janice Tindle is a freelance writer and brain injury survivor. To read more of her work, visit her blog at

Barbara J. Webster 

Barbara J. Webster is author of Lost and Found, A Survivors Guide for Reconstructing Life after a Brain Injury, Lash & Assoc. Publishing and a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor’s Soul.   

Jennifer White

Jennifer White is a traumatic brain injury survivor from St. Louis, Missouri. When she’s not writing about her life as a survivor, she enjoys spending time with her family and of course, quilting.

Kylie Wyatt

Kylie is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives finding light in tragedies, and encouraging others to believe there’s a plan. God can bring good where there is none. Her smile and confidence inspire the least likely to believe. Kylie lives a very real life in Nebraska with her two kids.

Hilary Zayed

Hilary Zayed reinvented herself as an artist and writer of the brain injury experience after falling from her horse in 2006 and learning she could no longer return to being an elementary school teacher, avid flute player and passionate horseback rider. You can find more of Hilary's work at

Amy Zellmer

Amy Zellmer is a writer, photographer, coach, and TBI survivor. Located in Saint Paul, MN she is a regular contributor for the Huffington Post. She enjoys traveling the country with her Yorkie named Pixxie. She loves chocolate, Miss Me jeans, Starbucks, and everything glittery and sparkly.

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