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Beacon House: A Sanctuary for Traumatic Brain Injury Victims

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Where do you go after suffering a serious brain injury and the life you used to lead has changed forever? You need help, but don’t know what to do or who to ask. Well, there’s a place in Hampton Roads that is providing assistance to nearly a dozen local people who have suffered from a serious brain injury and found comfort at Beacon House, a community-based clubhouse program for people living with the effects of brain injury, according to The Virginian Pilot.

At Beacon House, individuals can learn, or regain, skills necessary to live a productive and empowering life. Through contributing to every aspect of the clubhouse, members gain confidence and self-respect.

Many of these folks suffered a traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury or “TBI,” is defined by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control as an injury caused by a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Of the 1.4 million who sustain a TBI each year in the United States, 50,000 die; 235,000 are hospitalized; and 1.1 million are treated and released from an emergency department.

TBI’s not only effect the victim, but also their friends and family. Someone who suffered a TBI could endure behavioral and psychological changes that require constant attention and care. Some victims may even need assistance feeding and clothing themselves. It takes an emotional toll on everyone around them.

An example of this is the founder of the Beacon House, local resident Matt Buckley. He created the Beacon House to honor his wife, Mary Buckley. Mary was operated on at Sentara Bayside in 2004 for a routine bunion removal surgery. During the procedure, Mary’s heart stopped briefly and she was placed in a drug induced coma to prevent additional brain damage. Mary remained in a vegetative state for two years before she passed. Matt wanted to do something for other people who suffered like him. That is when he started the Mary Foundation and worked to get funding from local and state government.

The Beacon House is almost like a sanctuary for victims of TBI and Matt’s work should be celebrated. He endured a terrible tragedy, but persevered and is doing something to help numerous Virginians cope with the challenges of a brain injury.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.