Brain Injury Network Dallas, known locally as BIND, was founded by Valerie Gotcher 10 years ago. Before BIND, in her career Valerie helped rehabilitate people who were recovering from brain injury. After each person had recovered enough to leave rehab – or their insurance simply ran out – Valerie realized that they had to re-enter society without any support. She wanted to change that.
“Time and time again, I felt like once our patients graduated from those programs they were lost with what to do next. There was not an agency or anyone to guide them through bridging what happens after ‘I’m not a patient anymore. I feel comfortable engaging with the community, living my life, going back to work.’ There was no in-between,” Valerie shared.
After many conversations with past patients around Valerie’s dining room table, BIND was born. BIND is an ongoing support network for its members, anyone who has suffered from a brain injury. Through its strong community, BIND provides tools to its members so they can reconnect into life, the community and the workplace. Objectives include reducing depression, increasing return to meaningful employment or productive community volunteering, and improving quality of life.
“What I tell most people is that BIND gave me a purpose after my stroke. I had no idea how I was going to continue living my life at 38. My life ended – no job, no family – but there was BIND. They opened their arms and gave me a purpose and gave me the opportunity to go back to work and live my life fully,” shared brain injury survivor and BIND member Carrie Price.
“BIND is coping after therapy. After therapy, everyone gets released, but you’re still in need of working on your skills. BIND does that,” shared member Karl Heller. “So many people do not understand brain injuries. Your friends don’t know how to deal with it, so they leave…but BIND is all my new best friends.”
Both Karl and Carrie have been members since the very beginning and knew Valerie before she started BIND. They had the chance to offer Valerie input and advice as she began the program.
“All of us are BIND,” shared BIND Development Director Tara Judd Longley. “That’s core to our model. I’m a staff person and Karl is a member, but Karl actually interviewed me for my job. Members are on the board and on leadership. It’s not staff here and members here; we’re all one.”
BIND is funded by community support and partnerships. This year’s BIND Clubhouse Partners include Brain Performance Center, Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Richardson, Frisco LPC, Lone Star Neurology and Snellings Law, PLLC.
To celebrate 10 years, BIND is hosting a drive-through party Saturday, Feb. 27 at 1-3 p.m. at 1416 Gables Court. Each car will be given fun treats, BIND merchandise and a warm greeting from the team. Each car is encouraged to bring donations from BIND’s Amazon wish list. The party is called the “Peace Love BIND Birthday Party,” and drive-through attendees can RSVP online.Brain Injury Network Dallas >
Editor’s note: The date of the drive-through birthday party has been updated since originally published.