The Powell River Brain Injury Society is the local Center for Acquired and Traumatic Brain Injury.
Our mission is to promote prevention, recovery, education, community awareness and life beyond acquired brain injury.
Our mandate is to help persons, and the people who care about them, who are dealing with acquired brain injury.
Who are we?
The Powell River Brain Injury Society is committed to providing the best service delivery available to our clients living with acquired brain injury, their families and their caregivers. We offer services aimed at understanding and coming to terms with the changes that will take place when you or a loved one is living with a brain injury.
We can connect you to health care professionals, provide help with filling out forms and we provide support and attention for family and friends. Our office has a large resource room where we can help you find answers to most of the questions you will have, and we provide internet access and help navigating the websites available to you.
Brain Injury Society History
Early in the 1990’s a public health nurse named Penny Mebs received the news that one of her sons had been in a crash and had sustained an acquired brain injury. She set about the task of finding information and learning all she could about brain injury including symptoms, impact, duration and other things she would need to know in order to help with her son’s recovery.
Despite Penny being a nurse, her daughter being a nurse and her daughter in law being a nurse, there was not much information they could find. There was no one to tell them what to expect, how long the recovery would take, what the recovery would look like, if there would be a recovery and what kind of treatment was available or if any treatment would be successful.
Penny decided to do something pro-active and learned everything she could about brain injury and started a monthly support group for persons in the community who were in the same position as she was. With the help of Eunice Boser, another mother with a son who was diagnosed with brain injury they advertised the support group and for twelve years Penny continued to meet monthly with persons who were living with a brain injury, their family members, friends and caregivers.
Penny had been to Phoenix, Arizona with her son to a state of the art rehab facility for brain injury and continued her education while there. At the support meetings she brought information to share with members of the group and was always there when someone needed to talk about brain injury. Penny became the foremost expert on acquired brain injury in Powell River and represented our community at provincial and national conferences. She is still called to this day to provide answers to questions about acquired brain injury.
In 2003 she received funds to create a Society. Despite being caught in a bureaucratic Catch-22 about receiving the funds (she couldn’t take the money to form a society unless she was a society) a program manager was hired and the process continued.
Debbie Dee became their first Program Manager in September 2003 and set about the task of filling in forms and getting incorporation as a society, then federal registry as a charity. Debbie worked tirelessly to build the Society to what is has become by immersing herself in educational material and attending all training workshops, courses, conferences and seminars she could. She continues to provide invaluable service both administratively and professionally, having a degree in Music Therapy.
Debbie acts as executive director, group facilitator, program creator, fundraiser, therapist, counselor, coffee maker, artist, secretary, janitor, gatekeeper and much much more. She has become a true friend and champion for persons living with the effects of acquired brain injury. The Society now boasts service and support programs that cover a wide rage of identified needs including social isolation, cognitive enhancement, peer support and more. The Society has prevention programs, community education and awareness programs and is always ready to meet the ever changing needs of the members.
The Society has grown from that once a month support group to “The Center for Acquired Brain Injury” in Powell River and serves a membership of 150 and growing. The motto of the Society is “Life beyond acquired brain injury” and Debbie, her board of directors and volunteers all help to keep the Center vibrant and growing.
For more information about services and programs are currently available, click here.