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Jodi House’s Steve Katz Shares His Story of Survival for Brain Injury Awareness Month

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and in recognition of that, I would like to share my story.

On July 12, 2006, while on vacation with my wife in Southern California, I suddenly felt what was like an explosion in the head. Not knowing the severity of what had occurred, I tried my best to hold it together thinking it would go away. It did not.

I insisted to my wife, Lauren, to drive me to Cottage Hospital the next day. When we arrived at the hospital, I was unable to walk. It did not take long for the staff at Cottage to determine that I had a severe subarachnoid hemorrhage. In fact, they informed Lauren and I that it was a miracle that I was still alive given the hemorrhage had taken place more than 24 hours ago.

Cottage Hospital did not have the systems and specialist in place to treat my condition, so I was rushed to UCLA and entered its hospital a few minutes after midnight on July 14. That was my 50th birthday.

Although I was one of the few lucky individuals who fully recovered from the brain injury, I did not know about Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center during my long recovery period. It was not until 2014 when I was approached by Dr. Stephen Kaminski to consider joining the Jodi House board that I learned about this amazing asset.

Jodi House is a jewel in the Santa Barbara community. We have a dedicated staff who works with survivors of acquired and traumatic brain injury. The specialized programs Jodi House offers help individuals who’ve had brain injuries improve their cognitive and physical function and get back into the community.

As a board member and acquired brain injury survivor, it is my primary goal to increase the visibility of this important asset in our community. Brain injury can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Mine occurred without any notice.

Come support Jodi House on Saturday, March 21 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Fresco Café at 5 Points. Fresco will donate 10 percent of all sales that evening to Jodi House. There will be live music, a raffle and an opportunity to learn more about Jodi House for anyone wanting more information. You call also call Jodi House at 805.563.2882, inquire by email at [email protected] or check them out online by clicking here.

— Steve Katz is a board member for the Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center.

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