June 3, 2023

Lotus Rebirth: traumatic brain injury awareness mural

Lotus Rebirth is a traveling mural dedicated to the survivors of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). On Tuesday, March 5 in Laub Lounge at NCC’s Bethlehem campus,  Areli Pellegrino from Success NeuroRehab, along with four survivors, came to talk about the production and meaning of the painting.

Pellegrino talked about why she used art to represent TBI. She said she loves art and that it is beautiful for our brains and makes us think. She believes that art is a universal language.

The painting, Lotus Rebirth is a small part to a much larger meaning. It was created to spread awareness about TBI.  In the U.S. there are 2.8 million people who sustain a brain injury every year, according to the CDC.

Areli and her staff and patients helped paint the Lotus to help spread awareness and show the struggle of what it’s like going through a TBI.

Elissa Worth suffered a TBI  in 2015 in a motor vehicle accident. She was a passenger and the driver was intoxicated.

She was in the hospital in a coma she said. The doctor said she may never walk again but she defied what the doctors said and she ended up gaining full strength in her legs.

She explained why she helped paint the lotus because art helps calm her and it reminds her of her challenges and that life is still beautiful despite her accident.

Her advice for people is to wear your seatbelt and don’t drink and drive.

Another guest speaker who came to talk about brain injuries was Amy Zellmer who is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. On February 3, 2014 she was walking her dog like any other day except she slipped on a patch of ice and hit the back of her head.

She said when she got up she could see stars but did think too much about it until her symptoms didn’t go away she went to the doctor where she was told she had a concussion and most likely lost consciousness.

Some of the challenges Amy faced was she was a photographer and forgot how to work her camera and had very poor short-term memory which affected her job. She went to a neurologist and was told every six months to come back in another six months.

She became frustrated she said and was tired of the doctors when they couldn’t find anything with her or miss diagnose her. She said out of her frustrating she wrote a blog and one of her friends suggested she should submit it to the Huffington post.

The Huffington Post ended up running her story she was taken back by all the feedback and how many people where reading her story. Her story ended up with 50,000 likes.

She would receive emails by people who were going through similar problems. A neurologist reached out to her and treated her and she ended up recovering from most of her symptoms.

Her biggest point while she was speaking was a concussion is a brain injury 80% last 4 to 6 weeks and the other 20% can last years or never go away.

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