Survivors

SDBIF Scholarship applications are now CLOSED for 2017. Please come back at the beginning of 2018 to apply.
 

Read the 2016 SDBIF Scholarship Recipients’ Winning Essays

Each survivor has a courageous story of recovery to share.

Below you can read what a few of our survivors want to share about their own recovery, successes, and hopes for the future.

Noelle Montero shares that living on her own for the first time since being disabled is what she is most proud of. Making the transition to being independent hasn’t been easy, considering that six years ago most doctors said that even IF she managed to survive she wouldn’t be able to live a quality life. The thing that helped her was to stop asking, “Why me?” Instead she asks, “What’s next?” The daily process of searching for the answers to that question is what compels her to move forward in life now. Noel concluded, “I’m learning to accept the challenges I’ve been given.”

Ron Oliverio expresses gratitude to his late wife for all the support and help she gave him in facing the reality of his brain injury. A key to his recovery has been “looking for successes.” Ron has adopted a model of discovery, “That has taught me to appreciate things more, accept that which is, whatever it is, and gain from it. Success is discovery.”

Cathie Kurek proudly announced that after an SDBIF monthly meeting she would be moving into a studio apartment. This will be the first time in 23 years that she will be living alone. Cathie expresses gratitude for the Foundation and advised survivors to “be a support to each other.”

Steve Zandy believes that his brain injury was the best thing that ever happened to him because it caused him to stop and reflect about his life. Before his accident, he felt lost, very insecure, and without direction. He thought he could find security and self-respect by drinking, but in 1986 his life was turned upside down. At age 16, he took his sister’s car while drinking. He crashed into a tree. Steve was in a coma for 2-1/2 months. Now he attends the ABI program and feels he has a sense of direction and self-respect. “When you have self-respect, the world is yours. That is the best feeling. I’m creating a new life for myself,” concludes Steve.

Vicki Binde shares, “I’ve learned a lot of things to make my life easier.” She uses such strategies as a date-book and post-it notes. She advised survivors, “You have your own life. You know what’s going on for you and what you need. I can’t tell you”.

Jeff Pastore sees his brain injury as a gift. “I feel closer to life than I’ve ever felt before.” Jeff said, “I appreciate the little things in life, maybe more so than the average person will ever get to experience because of the things I’ve been through.” The brain injury community here in San Diego has become like a family to him.