The March of Dimes in Sudbury got a $25,000 injection towards its Wade Hampton House expansion project on Oct. 9.
The Wade Hampton House is a community-based setting that offers 24-hour support to individuals with moderate to severe brain injury. Staff work with residents to engage them in their personal care and ongoing rehabilitation goals.
Currently, Wade Hampton House is home to 11 people living with acquired brain injury. They live in either a congregate setting or in stand alone apartments and receive the support they need.
However, with a wait list of more than 20 people across the northeast, it is time for the facility to expand.
In 2015, the March of Dimes set out on its Moving A-Head capital campaign to facilitate that expansion. The goal is a new 12,000-square-foot facility big enough to accommodate 12 individuals with a brain injury.
It's a $2.9-million project, with $1.95 million from the City of Greater Sudbury, leaving another $1 million to be raised by March of Dimes.
“We've raised about $200,000,” said Deanna Chisholm-Tullo, Northeast Region Service and Campaign manager., March of Dimes Canada. “The goal is to be completed within a year from now.”
For Charles Tossell, the March of Dimes has helped him lead as independent a life as he can while living with an acquired brain injury.
Tossell underwent brain surgery to stop the seizures he'd been suffering from since he was 11 months old. At its worst, Tossell had 14 seizures in one day.
He knew going into the surgery there was a 40 per cent chance of getting a brain injury. It took 15 months to relearn even the most basic life skills, like walking and talking.
He doesn't live at Wade Hampton House, but he's been receiving support from the March of Dimes since 2008.
“It's been almost 10 years, and I get about 1.5 hours of support every week,” Tossell said.
As a result of his brain injury, Tossell also suffers from severe anxiety, where he wasn't able to go up to people and talk to them, or even to purchase anything in a store because it involved approaching the sales clerk, he said.
“If someone came up to me to talk to me, I didn't have the courage to talk back, that's how bad it was,” he said.
He even gets the occasional seizure, which is usually brought on by severe stress, he said.
There needs to me more awareness of brain injuries, Tossell said. Everyone's brain injury is caused differently, and depending on where the injury is, it affects different things.