The Brain Injury Association of America has announced Brain Injury Awareness Day will be March 22, 2017 at our Nation’s Capitol in Washington DC. This event is hosted by Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and Congressman Thomas J. Rooney (R-FL), co-chairs of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. It is FREE to attend, everyone is welcome, and no registration is required.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Brain Injury Awareness Fair — Rayburn Foyer, First floor, Rayburn House Office building.
2:30 – 4 p.m. Brain Injury Briefing — Gold Room, 2168 Rayburn House Office building
5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Reception celebrating Brain Injury Awareness Month — Gold Room, 2168 Rayburn House Office building
The very first Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill was held in 2002, hosted by the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force co-chaired by Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Thomas J. Rooney (R-Fla.). The event was and continues to be put on in partnership with the Brain Injury Association of America. I will be meeting with my Senators while I am in DC and asking them to join the Task Force!
How YOU can help, even if you are not able to attend in-person in Washington DC:
- Find your local Senator and Representatives
To find your Senator you can visit www.senate.gov and click on your state
To find your Representative you visit www.house.gov and enter your zip code in the upper right-hand corner
- Send them a letter requesting they join the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. Use this letter as a template (change out the RED highlighted areas). CLICK HERE FOR PDF
- Include this form for them to join the Task Force. CLICK HERE FOR PDF.
- Schedule a meeting with them while you are in DC (if you are attending).
Please contact Amy Colberg, Director of Government Affairs, at [email protected] if you would like assistance with scheduling meetings with your elected officials during Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill.
Amy with Senator Pascrell at BIA Day March 2016
This year will be my third time attending BIA Day, and I wanted to offer my fellow survivors who are planning to attend some tips on planning out your day!
Map Your Route
Whether you are arriving by Metro, Taxi, or car, it is important to do your research and know where you are going. Make note of which building you need to be at, and program the addresses into your GPS using the walk option, or print out maps and highlight your path. NOTE: You will need to go through security screening to enter any of the buildings at the Capitol. You can not bring in food or beverages, and your bags will be scanned and/or checked by hand. Please be prepared, and feel free to tell security you have a brain injury and may need some assistance from them.
Plan Your Schedule In Advance
Understand how much energy you are willing to exert and plan accordingly. If you can only give yourself and hour or so, I highly suggest you put your energy towards the Awareness Fair. You will be able to meet with vendors who support brain injury awareness, you will meet fellow survivors, interact with the Brain Injury Association of America, and pick up some free swag to take home with you! The Congressional Briefing can get a bit long, and can be over stimulating to listen to, however, you will learn a lot and get updates on what is happening across the country with brain injury awareness, detection, and prevention. The Reception is a fun time to hang out with the new people you have just met, as well as eat some tasty treats.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
It is important to understand that there is a lot of walking involved when you are at the Capitol. You will walk from your car, Taxi, or Metro stop to the building, and also between the buildings. Distance is deceiving when you look at a map, so it is good to be prepared for a lot of walking!
Stay Hydrated and Eat A Snack
Eat a healthy breakfast before heading out. Hydration is critical to brain health, so bring a water bottle and fill it up once you are through security. There is also a cafeteria located inside the building where you can purchase beverages as well as a meal or snacks.
Bring A Notebook, Pen, and Tote Bag
You will likely meet a lot of wonderful new people, and you’ll want to grab their business card and/or make notes. You will be taking in a lot of new information, and I suggest writing things down so you don’t forget, and make notations of things you want to follow up on. A tote bag will come in handy to carry around the free swag that you pick up (pens, etc).
Pace Yourself and Be Prepared For Overstimulation
Get LOTS of rest the night before. This is going to be a busy day with lots of people, walking, and interaction. Bring with you any comfort items you may need such as sunglasses and earplugs. Take breaks and pace yourself, you are under no obligation to see it all and do everything on the schedule!
Read my recap of the first BIA Day I attended in March, 2015, published on Huffington Post: CLICK HERE
This post was originally published on the author’s website and is republished here with her permission.
Photo credit: Faces of Traumatic Brain Injury