When Colby (co-founder) was deployed as a combat medic, he sustained injuries from nearby IED's and a convoy crash. It took several years until a formal diagnosis of a TBI (traumautic brain injury) was given. During these years, before the diagnosis, living a "normal" life was a challenge. Colby had a diffcult time keeping his balance, remembering conversations, difficulty with auditory processing, and speech difficulties (dyspraxia of speech). All of this compounded his PTS symptoms. He was angry, disconnected, unable to focus or concentrate, and just overall, exhausted.
After a long journey, Colby took a chance on one last opportunity, the Marcus Institute for Brain Health (MIBH). Not really expecting much, Colby was accepted to their in-house 3-week program. It turned out to be a life altering experience. When Colby started the program, he was walking with a cane, unable to hold and walk around with his young son, couldn't walk down an aisle at the grocery store. After three weeks at the Marcus Institute and the tireless work of the professionals there, Colby was able to use the cane less and less, until it was no longer needed. He finally understood the hearing and speech disorders were related to the TBI and was able to receive the necessary therapy to greatly improve his quality of life.
In addition to the physical injuries, MIBH also addressed his PTS. While there, Colby spent a lot of time working through his experiences (both deployed and at home), with the incredible therapists on staff. He was even given resources to continue therapy after MIBH and continues to improve.
Throughout this journey, we have come to realize there is little known about TBI and almost no research that is conducted outside of a controlled laboratory. Our goal with this expedition is to help further research on TBI in a real world application. We will take a group of wounded warriors that are former particpants of MIBH, and our medical researcher (MIBH) will conduct tests as they climb in altitude and different levels of exertion. The collected data will then be used to research ways of more accurately diagnosing TBI in real-time environments and situations, both military and civilian. A greater benefit to this research, this trip will allow these individuals to accomplish a feat that was previously thought unattainable.
As Colby's wife, I want to say, there is hope. Yes, it's a long journey. Yes, there will be set backs. And yes, it takes an incredible amount of strength and trust to reach out for help. The reason we started the Paper Crane Foundation was to tell others about our journey and show that it is possible to get your life back. We had a lot of help along the way and we want to help others through sharing resources and funding research that will improve quality of life.
Please help us fund this research trip. The money you donate will be used to send nine wounded warriors, our researcher, and medical equipment to Mt. Everest basecamp. Any funds in excess will be used for future annual research studies and contributions to MIBH and Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities (CAMO), which will be used to fund the care of future veterans and first responders so they can find their new normal.
Thank you for any contributions you can make to help us reach our goal.