March On for Brain Injury is a statewide family fun walk hosted by the Brain Injury Association of New York State. Join us for a day of awareness and community building as we honor outstanding individuals and their contributions to the brain injury community!
For 2020, we’re getting creative to bring you a fun way to safely enjoy March On virtually. This year we won’t be able to get together in person, but we encourage you to find a safe place to March On- could be your driveway, down the block or street, a local park, your own back yard or deck!
No matter where you are, you can join us on Saturday, September 12 to hear from our Honorees, team captains, staff and sponsors.
So start a team, join a team or donate to a team today!
Registration is $30 for adults ($35 on the day of the Walk), $20 for youth ages 4-12, and free for kids ages 3 and under.
On July 9, 2016, at the age of 45, I had an ischemic stroke. During my hospitalization, I had a left carotid endaerotomy and was diagnosed with global aphasia. Aphasia is a communication disorder which impairs an individuals’ ability to speak, talk, write and process language.
I began Speech Therapy on August 9, 2016 at the Helen Hayes Rehabilitation Hospital and attended their stroke support group. At the support group, I heard about the Adler Aphasia Center.
While recovering from the stroke my primary doctor as well as my neurologist began to explain to me there was no way I could return to work. Since the age of 20, I had been a 911 operator/dispatcher. It involved multi-tasking, working in a fast-paced environment, making swift judgments based on policy and procedure as well as past history, all the while ensuring the safety of the public, police officers and fire fighters. I LOVED my job and took pride in keeping “my” officers safe.
I experienced depression, the lowering of my self-esteem and self-confidence and began to isolate myself. I had to learn to speak again. I had to learn to train my voice so it didn’t sound monotone, like a robot. I had to draw circles and triangles to sturdy my right hand, it was HARD. I had always defined my life as a contributor to society as well as a mentor and or role model, now I was lost and was at the end of my rope.
I called the Adler Aphasia Center and scheduled a tour. Upon entering the center, I felt encased with love and understanding. The members welcomed me with open arms, they listen to me, console me during my many crying jags, show me compassion and give me hope to one day finally accept the new me. The staff and volunteers act as friends, mentors, social workers and most of all a loving, supportive family. Adler Aphasia Center cheers me on, encourages me and holds my hand when I need it.
Although, my speech has improved, I suffer many cognitive deficits: lack of concentration; trouble focusing; retaining information; difficulty spelling and computing mathematical equations; transposing of words when attempting to write, etc. I see a therapist weekly, am on anti-depressant medication and on several preventative medications for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a blood thinner.
Recovering from a stroke has been extremely challenging but goodness has come out of my struggles. I’ve been appointed to the Rockland County Disability Advisory Council (2018); honored by the Voices for Hope for Aphasia (Poetry Bash, 2018); and have become the member representative of the Adler Aphasia Center Board of Directors (2019).
I’m known as an advocate for stroke and aphasia. When I had my stroke, I had no family history or pre-determining factors which would say I was at risk for a stroke. I tell everyone my story of despair, hope and recovery as well as give out information with resources for brain injury survivors, aphasia warriors and their caregivers. Having a support system, involvement in several support groups and Adler Aphasia Center has given me a new lease on life.
On April 7,1994 we gave birth to our second child and only daughter, Victoria. We were beyond excited to complete our family with a daughter, and to give her brother Anthony a baby sister.
Throughout her childhood and into early adulthood, Victoria had a kind, outgoing, and positive attitude towards life with and always endeavored to succeed. She was friends with everyone- from the loners to the “popular kids” - she never judged. Victoria also had an affection for the elderly and for children. So much so that she became a nanny to 2 beautiful children for 4 years. Victoria graduated from Iona college with a degree in marketing and stepped out into the “real world” to begin her career in market research.
On March 2, 2019 Victoria had an accidental fall. Five days later we were informed there was no brain activity due to a traumatic brain bleed that was misdiagnosed. Needless to say, we were totally devastated by this news. Our lives have forever been changed since that day and living without her is the new “normal.” A normal we will never get used to.
We decided to donate Victoria’s heart-a decision that we will never regret. We saved the life of a beautiful 19 year old girl who is thriving and living a full life.
This past year has been a struggle for our family, friends, and everyone that knew her. During the first few months after our loss, we decided to do something positive in her memory. With over 40 friends and family members, we organized a team, Victoria’s Warriors, and participated in our first BIANYS walk. As bittersweet as it was, it gave us some comfort knowing that we were contributing to such a meaningful cause. I chose BIANYS after much research. This walk is important to us in order to promote advocacy, understanding, and education of brain injury to the public. They provide support services and advocate on State as well as Federal levels.
Although our outcome was extreme, we hope to help others with our contributions to this incredible organization and look forward to remaining a part of the BIANYS “family” for years to come! -Susan Fontana & Anthony Argentino
Brian D. Greenwald, MD, is currently the Medical Director at the Center for Brain Injuries and the Associate Medical Director of JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute. He is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Hackensack-Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University.
Dr. Greenwald is the Director for the Brain Injury Medicine Fellowship at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute and is the Medical Director for the JFK Johnson Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems of care grant funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research. He has been the recipient of multiple awards for his clinical work, research work, and teaching. Dr. Greenwald has published multiple articles and book chapters in the areas of brain injury rehabilitation. Currently he is involved in several research studies to improve the care of brain injury survivors.
Dr. Greenwald did his residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Kessler Institute/ NJ Medical School. He did his fellowship training in Brain Injury Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Greenwald has served on the Board of Trustees for the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey for nearly 20 years and is currently Vice President of the Board of Trustees. He is well known and respected for the care of his patients both in New Jersey and New York.