March is Brain Awareness Month

Nathan Liewicki
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BrainLove campaign kicked off Monday in Prince Albert

One grandmother’s call to the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association (SBIA) has turned into a province-wide campaign.

Members of the Saskatchewan Royal Purple Association pose with a check for $6,000 at the Prince Albert Inn on Monday. The money was donated to the Prince Albert chapter of the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association at the launch of the BrianLove campaign, lasting throughout March. 

“A little over a year ago I got a call from a woman in the Prince Albert area who is a grandmother of a brain injury survivor,” SBIA Executive Director Glenda James told the Times-Herald from Prince Albert.

“We talked about many of the challenge this sort of situation causes to the family. Over the course of the next few weeks we chatted a lot and she wanted more information.”

Those conversations eventually spawned the BrainLove campaign, which was launched Monday at the Prince Albert Inn.

A partnership between the SBIA and the Saskatchewan Royal Purple Association (SRPA), BrainLove will encourage the public to learn about the brain and make the health and safety of their brains a priority.

It’s part of Brain Awareness Month in March.

The unnamed grandmother is a member of the SRPA and she brought the idea of a fundraising campaign to the attention of President Sandi Lougheed last fall.

It was a smash hit with Lougheed and SRPA members.

“In January, we signed a partnership with the SBIA as a volunteer fundraising arm for them,” Lougheed said. “What we offered to the SBIA was our network of members, lodges and communities that we work in, in order to raise funds for the association.”

Royal Purple lodges across the province are spearheading the fundraising efforts, including in Moose Jaw.

There will be white boxes with symbols that read, “I love brains” and anyone who donates to the SBIA will receive a sticker.

“We hope by the time the month is over everyone in the province is wearing a sticker,” Lougheed said.

Some brain injuries occur as a result of an array of accidents, but others are developed over time.

Betty, whose surname we are protecting at her own request, is an example of a brain injury survivor living in Moose Jaw.

“The bad thing about mine was the doctors didn't diagnose it,” said Betty. “They were treating me for high blood pressure and everything else and no one ever said ‘maybe we should do a cat scan.’”

When it was finally discovered Betty was living with a brain tumour, she was treated as an emergency.

“The surgeon in Regina couldn't believe I hadn't had a stroke already, so it was really serious,” she said. “I'm one of the lucky ones.”

Betty is completely healthy, but said an initiative like BrainLove is important because of the added awareness it brings and the money that it will raise for people with brain injuries across Saskatchewan.

“We think that it's phenomenal that in less than two months we've been able to put together a province wide fundraising campaign for such a great cause,” said Lougheed. “There are over a million people affected by brain injuries. It's a super cause and we are happy to be part of it.”

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: Prince Albert Inn, Saskatchewan Royal Purple Association, Times-Herald

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Regina, Saskatchewan

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