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Joanne Susi

"My life is separated into before and after. Before, I was a Senior Clinical Research Associate assisting in clinical trails with CAP working with Dana Farber, Tufts, Johns Hopkins, and others in Cancer research. Now I am a survivor and lucky to be alive". Read Kristin's story

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Jeff Robinson

You don't have to let your head injury define you...

 “You don’t have to let your head injury define you.”
        Jeff Robinson

The Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIA-MA) had not yet been founded when 22-year-old Jeff Robinson suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 1981 following a devastating automobile accident.

Not knowing where to turn for information and support, his mother, Barbara, joined forces with others parents of children with brain injury and started what is today BIA-MA’s Berkshire Brain Injury Support Group (BBISG).

Twenty-six years later, it is the longest running support group in Massachusetts. Over the years, this support group and BIA-MA have touched the lives of countless individuals and families in Western Massachusetts.

For Jeff and his family, the association provided a lifeline when it was most needed and continuing support through all the years and all the challenges that follow a serious brain injury.

Jeff had more than a TBI to deal with following his accident. He lost vision in his right eye and permanently injured his left hand and arm. Life was difficult. But the people he met through BBISG and BIA-MA gave him hope. “You’re stuck in this vortex and you don’t see your way out,” he explains. “Then you meet other people with head injuries, and they help you grow.”

Now, Jeff is giving back. He volunteers four days a week at BIA-MA’s Western Regional Office in Pittsfield. In addition to working in the office, he assists with BIA-MA events. In 2009 he was honored with the Western MA Office Volunteer of the Year Award. A prize-winning bowler and certified bowling instructor, he helps people with disabilities learn to bowl, and coaches a junior bowling league on Saturday mornings.

“My association with BIA-MA has taught me that a brain injury is not the end of the world,” says Jeff. “You don’t have to let your head injury define you. You get to create your own life.”


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