Winnipeg group holds rare event amid pandemic for brain injury survivors

Participants of the 16th annual Manitoba Brain Injury Association walk and run at Assiniboine Park. Marek Tkach / Global News

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it extremely difficult for health groups to meet over the summer, disrupting support and treatment for organizations like the Manitoba Brain Injury Association.

The association’s annual walk and run took place at Assiniboine Park on Sunday, giving dozens of members a chance to reconnect with fellow survivors and supporters.

Read more: Walk in Winnipeg hopes to clear misconceptions about brain injuries

“We brought our whole family here, there’s six of us coming in from Elkhorn,” said Kevin Tuthill, a brain injury survivor and MBIA member.

Kevin Tuthill, participating in this year’s Winnipeg event after his home chapter Brandon event was cancelled due to the pandemic. Marek Tkach / Global News

Kevin runs the Brandon chapter of the association, leading monthly meetings among survivors, caregivers and family members.

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“It’s just a good chance to see people, connect, talk about what you struggles you’re having, struggles they’re having and it’s been really strong, really important group for us,” says Tuthill.

Read more: Brain injury pushes Toronto doctor to promote brain-healthy lifestyle

Despite a different, socially-distanced feel to this year’s event, the association’s goal remained the same.

“These members get out of the hospital and struggle to find a new normal for their families and for themselves, so it’s the role of the manitoba brain injury association to provide services and support for these folks and their families just to have a normal life,” said Troy Pauls, a five-year board member of the MBIA.

Troy Pauls, a board member for the Manitoba Brain Injury Association. Marek Tkach / Global News

According to the association, the amount of brain injuries occurring within Manitoba is back on the rise.

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“For a while there were fewer traumatic brain injuries, but now its on the rise again and I know that MPI and the RCMP are reporting higher than normal road fatalities and incidents so it’s back on the rise again unfortunately,” said Pauls.

Considering that, Pauls says it’s never been more important for the group to continue providing support and a sense of community to those in need.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba Brain Injury Association launches new program'
Manitoba Brain Injury Association launches new program

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