With a brain injury, not everybody has a support system in place. That’s where we hope to step in and to make a big difference in many small ways.
FALLBROOK, Calif. (PRWEB) December 14, 2017
Introducing the Just A Breath Away (JABA) foundation, a non-profit organization established to increase awareness of severe traumatic brain injury (STBI) and to raise funds to help other survivors in need.
Founded by Kathleen Newhouse, a severe traumatic brain injury survivor, and her husband Galen Newhouse, JABA is committed to helping other survivors, as well as their families and loved ones, who have experienced the horrible aftermath of STBI. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, at least 5 million Americans are currently living with disabilities resulting from brain injury.
Newhouse suffered a ruptured abscess that ravaged her brain and nearly cost her life. Despite being given less than a five percent chance of survival, and with the likelihood of landing in a vegetative state, she survived multiple surgeries and endured a decade-long recovery. A wife and mother of four, before her STBI, Newhouse was an accomplished musician, athlete and business owner who achieved much success in her life. Unfortunately, the aftermath of her injury left her unable to perform her music, compete in the world championships for Taekwondo or even master some everyday tasks.
Since her injury, Newhouse has gone on to flourish in new ways including discovering a talent for painting. Although her artwork started out as therapy, she has since produced hundreds of oil on canvas pieces and has garnered much attention for her eclectic and somewhat ethereal style. Through the Just A Breath Away foundation, Newhouse sells her art and donates all proceeds to the STBI community. Today, her artwork proudly adorns the walls of supporters from across the nation.
"Through the sale of my paintings, plus other fundraising efforts, all proceeds are donated to help other STBI survivors in some way,” states JABA President and Founder Kathleen Newhouse. “Perhaps we can help offset the cost of a new wheelchair or a feeding system or a procedure that needs to happen. There are a lot of things that are necessary to survive an STBI, but not everybody has a support system in place. That’s where we hope to step in and to make a big difference in many small ways."
When asked about the choice of names for the non-profit, Newhouse replied, “At one point, one of my doctors told me that I was just a breath away from death and that statement really hit me. In fact, it stayed with me throughout my recovery. I realized that his statement would make a great name for a foundation. It essentially sparked the idea to help others who have been just a breath away, themselves.”
She continued, “I hope to bring awareness to STBI and to touch the lives of the individuals who are most affected by it. The effects of STBI come in many forms, and I see it as my mission to help and enlighten others, not just the injured but their families, their support systems, and even the general public.”
Dedicated to raising awareness and leading fundraising efforts to benefit the STBI community, JABA currently relies on the generosity of their Circle of Hope community and through the sale of Kathleen Newhouse’s artwork. She is also in the process of documenting her journey by penning a book, Streams of Thought from a Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor, which will be available in spring 2018. All proceeds from the sale of her book, as well as her artwork and other fundraising efforts, are donated to the STBI community.
According to the Brain Injury Association of America, brain injury strikes 2.5 million people per year. That's one injury every 12.6 seconds. Approximately 500,000 of those injuries require hospitalization and close to 75,000 result in death. Between 70,000 and 90,000 survivors sustain injuries that are long-term or permanent. There are currently at least 5 million Americans living with disabilities resulting from brain injury.
A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Just A Breath Away Foundation has been established to increase awareness of severe traumatic brain injury (STBI) and to raise funds to help survivors and their families. The foundation donates all proceeds to those in need. For more information or to get involved, please take the time to visit justabreathaway.org.
Photography by Dominique Labrecque