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Headwaters Acquired Brain Injury group celebrates 10th anniversary

December 12, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Alyssa Parkhill

The Headwaters Acquired Brain Injury group (HABI) is a local volunteer group under the umbrella of the Ontario Brain Injury Association, dedicated to supporting those living with acquired brain injuries who are residents of the Headwaters Region, but also for anyone who requires support. 

HABI was established back in Oct. 2009. On Dec. 3 the group and its members got together to celebrate a decade of support in the local community.

“Orangeville Mayor Sandy Brown attended the event, to honour the 10 years of our service to the community,” explains Norman Phillips, HABI co-chair.

According to the HABI website, an acquired brain injury (ABI) is “any damage in the brain that occurs after birth and is not related to congenital disorder, a development disability or a process which progressively damages the brain. There are two main types of ABI: traumatic brain injuries to the brain caused by external force, such as an impact to the head during a motor vehicle accident. And non-traumatic brain caused by disease of oxygen deprivations.” 

HABI hosts monthly support groups on the first Tuesday of every month for mutual support and problem solving within the members. These meetings are held at 695 Riddell Rd. Unit 3 in Orangeville. 

Mr. Phillips and his team of volunteers work hard to bring awareness and education to the community of Headwaters Region, but also those in surrounding areas. ABI survivors, or those living with ABI, come from all over to attend HABI support groups. With no application process, and no waiting list, HABI opens their doors and arms for anyone looking for support. 

“We offer education about brain injuries, and that’s usually done through guest speakers. We have professionals or experts come in and discuss brain injury, or related issues,” says Mr. Phillips. “We offer those meetings, and we also do a lot of public awareness.”

HABI has hosted parades, initiatives, different kinds of projects and variety of events to bring awareness to those in the community, but also to people who may not know that there is a support group of this topic. 

The group relies solely on volunteers and donated funds to run its programming throughout the year.

“The key thing about our group is we have absolutely no funding. We don’t have funding from other organizations, we’re a grass roots support group that works solely on volunteerism and all of the money that we do raise, is raised through our own efforts,” Mr. Phillips explained. “It’s a bit of a unique approach to providing support and the public awareness and education about brain injury. We raise our owns funds, but we do work alongside several other support groups, which is excellent.”

Regularly, they have around 30 people of different ages, from children all the way to seniors, attend their meetings on a monthly basis. They provide support for caregivers, and families who have someone in their family with ABI, and survivors as well. 

For more information about HABI and their services, visit headwatersabi.net.


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