The heroes of brain injury are assembling for the BIST 5K Run, Walk and Roll on October 1st!
As we prepare for Race Day, BIST has selected a special superhero squad of amazing heroes of brain injury.
Meet Charismatic Colleen – #5 in our Heroes of Brain Injury Series.
Be sure to collect all seven heroes!
How long have you been working in brain injury?
I started in health care 27 years ago and I have been working with people who have sustained a brain injury for the past 21 years. I have been working for NRIO (Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute of Ontario) for over 20 years and it has been a long and fulfilling career.
Describe your work with NRIO
I am a teacher by profession and I also have a marketing background. I returned to school 4 years ago and completed the Case Management certification through McMaster and the Life Care Planning certification through the University of Florida. I joined [NRIO] to do marketing and helped promote NRIO over the years and giving back to the community. For the past 16 years I have been the Executive Director, and took on more of a management role, but marketing is my first love, education, meeting clients, their families and the referral sources. I am the first person called and thereafter I delegate to my competent and professional managers and staff. I have an invested interest in all of our clients, their happiness/success and proud to say I know something about every client.
Effective September 1st, NRIO was acquired by Bayshore Therapy & Rehab and I am thrilled about this acquisition and the continuum of care NRIO and Bayshore Therapy & Rehab can provide. My title has changed to Director, NRIO.
What has been your role at BIST?
I was the founding chair of BIST in 2004, and BIST holds a very very special place in my heart.
I feel I am more valuable sitting on sub-committees and contributing to projects and seeing the end results. I hold the Board members, staff and volunteers in the highest regard and their energy, time and commitment is invaluable. I have been on the awareness committee since 2000, was on the communications committee and continue supporting the volunteer committee.
My most recent project was helping BIST find a new Executive Director.
Why do you participate in the BIST 5K?
I’ve been doing the run since it began in 2011. I feel very committed to BIST and the work that the board and the staff do and the invaluable contributions from the members. I will do what I can to support BIST, its success and our ongoing commitment to the members and the brain injury community.
BIST’s mantra from the beginning is doing it well, whether it is a small or big task. We have not taken on large goals that we can’t accomplish. I am extremely proud of BIST’s accomplishments and achievements to date.
What does being a hero of brain injury mean to you?
To me being a hero of brain injury demonstrates that I’ve been selected because of the people I serve. I am not the hero. The main heroes are the clients who have sustained the brain injury, the ones who work so hard every day to get to where they are and demonstrate those super powers to be able to get their lives back, and to provide sustainable outcomes and recoveries. They are the true heroes and all of us involved in their lives are the conduits to help our clients reach their ultimate goals.
What is your favourite part about Race Day?
I love everything that [the BIST 5K Run, Walk and Roll] brings together – the clients, their families, friends and professionals – we are all one at the end of the day with the same goals – participate, have fun, make money for BIST and give back to the community.
Everybody is equal at these events, tries their best and no matter what it is they accomplish, or what they do and no matter what milestone, whether they’re wheeling a kilometre, or if they’re walking for 500 metres, or if they’re running one kilometre, doing the 5K everybody is equal and doing the best that they possibly can.
Charismatic Colleen has been a big part of BIST over the years! Read the tips she gave on training for the 5K, along with her NRIO team member Garvin, HERE and how she won BIST’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2013, HERE.