Help woman brain-damaged by tragic explosion

Help woman brain-damaged by tragic explosion

From Michael Cohen

On behalf of "Sally" – a courageous individual who got caught in a pipeline explosion and got a significant brain injury. She will be homeless soon without help. She's bright, courageous, and needs help to succeed.

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I'm Michael Cohen, Director of the Center for Brain Training in Jupiter, Florida. Today, I reach out with a heartfelt plea for assistance on behalf of "Sally" – a courageous individual whose story is both harrowing and inspiring. Sally, not her real name for safety reasons, is a 53-year-old survivor of a devastating gas line explosion that left her with a severe brain injury, rendering her unable to work.

In the wake of her injury, Sally faced an additional ordeal: fleeing from an abusive husband. She has since been living in temporary housing, but that sanctuary is slipping away. With no financial resources, Sally finds herself on the brink of homelessness (Dec 31), a frightening prospect for anyone, but especially for someone in her vulnerable state and struggling with health issues - with no insurance. She does not believe she will survive being on the street.

What struck me about Sally was not just her plight but her spirit. Despite the overwhelming challenges of daily life compounded by her brain injury, she exhibits an extraordinary will to overcome the seemingly impossible - and to survive so many challenges. 

My goal, with your support, is to help Sally stand on her own feet again and to address her brain injury, which has so drastically impacted her life. While I have been assisting her personally to the best of my ability, it requires more than one person can handle alone.

I will help her get brain rehabilitation including oxygen for her at no charge at my center in Jupiter and then some rehab tools for her at home in Tennessee. She needs funding to visit our rehab center in Florida and cover living expenses for two months. By then thru brain rehab she will have recovered sufficiently to get a job and start supporting herself. I know because some months ago before fleeing her husband, she came for 10 days and did remarkably well in such a short time. But she couldn't afford to stay. 

I am hopeful that Sally's story will touch your heart and inspire you to act. She deserves a chance to reclaim her life, but without our help, her path to recovery and stability is perilously uncertain.

Your generosity can make a profound difference in her life, providing her with the opportunity to heal and rebuild. Thank you for considering this appeal.

You can learn more about the pipeline disaster at these news links:

More on Sally's story . . . 

Powering Through a Fiery Tragedy, Sally Needs Help Starting Over

“I’m scared, tired and desperate. I don’t have a dime to my name,” says Sally.

“I feel like I'm in a nightmare that I relive every day and pray to God that someone can help. I can’t keep going on like this.”

Those are the heartbreaking thoughts that have haunted Sally every single day since that horrible night in 2019 when her life changed forever.

Deafening noise/ blinding light

Sally was in her bedroom watching TV around 1 a.m. on August 1 when, out of the blue, she heard a deafening noise, like a train derailing on the tracks behind her house. She looked out the window with horror as she was blanketed by a blinding light from an orange flame that rose 300 feet into the air and turned night into day.

It only took a moment to realize what had happened. Sally screamed, “My God, the pipeline has exploded. We have to get out!”

A natural gas line from Enbridge, a pipeline company less than a mile from her house in Stanford, Kentucky, had exploded, sending a slew of blast waves throughout nearby communities. She later learned that the flames had been seen from as far as 100 miles away in Louisville.

As a ferocious roar filled the air, Sally grabbed her dogs and ran to her truck.

Before she could head out to a nearby town for safety, another blast violently shook the truck back and forth, and its accompanying noise surged through an open window, damaging Sally's right ear.

The following morning, she returned to see if she had a house left.

Extensive destruction

Luckily, the house was still standing but it had suffered extensive destruction, including a cracked foundation, damaged crown molding, and kitchen cabinets that came loose from the wall from the blast waves.

Unable to bear the trauma of staying in her partially destroyed home, she began prevailing upon friends and family to let her stay with them. Adding to her troubles was the fact that the impact of the explosion caused physical and emotional problems she had never before experienced.

The physical and mental aftermath

She began having excruciating headaches and brain fog preventing her from focusing, completing tasks, and working. She was frequently dizzy and nauseated, unable to sleep when it’s dark, and was subject to fits of crying and severe depression. The trauma and injury also caused her hair to fall out, her teeth to loosen, her vision to profoundly deteriorate, and deafness in her right ear.

Doctors couldn't help

Sally went from doctor to doctor trying to learn what was wrong and to find relief. Many of the medical professionals she saw minimized her complaints and didn’t identify brain damage as a major cause.  (Most doctors are not trained in dealing with brain injury symptoms) 

She knew different, however, and in December of 2020 a neurologist in Cleveland diagnosed her with brain damage and told her that many of the symptoms she was experiencing were the result.

Inadequate compensation

Sally had some private health insurance, but she no longer does. She’s applied for disability, but doesn’t know if, or when, she’ll get it. An attorney working on her behalf for compensation from the involved parties obtained a small settlement that quickly ran out.  Frankly her lawyers screwed her or failed abysmally. But she couldn't find another lawyer to fight the one she ended up and she tried. 

Left alone in the world to fend for herself

Due to all her brain-related issues, she cannot support herself, nor is there anyone in her life to help her do so.

Sally needs financial help so that she can move into her own place, make rent payments, buy a vehicle, food, and simple furniture, cover her ongoing medical bills, and pay for a therapist to help her heal psychological wounds caused by the trauma of the explosion. Her ultimate goal is to recover enough to support herself with a full-time job.

“It’s hard to know how to deal with all of this,” Sally said. “Something like this doesn’t come with an instruction booklet.”  Note that she told me last week her teeth grinding is so bad because she can't afford botox, that she can't eat solid food because of teeth damage. The overall health impact of a brain injury can be devastating - and there's no one to help her. 

At the Center for Brain, we are committed to helping Sally. She not only can survive, she can thrive with the right help.  She wants to do some things to help other brain injury survivors not have to go through the hell she's been thru. If you can help her get to Florida, and get through several months of brain rehab, she will be able to set her life back on track.  

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