An Interview with Bobby Paisley of BIAK
Can you tell us about your personal experience with brain injury and how that inspired you to become the Executive Director of the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky?
My name is Bobby Paisley and I’m the new Executive Director of the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky. A personal experience drew me to apply for the position at the BIAK. I have a good friend, Justin, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer almost two years ago, and he recently passed away. During his battle with cancer, he had 3 major brain surgeries and full brain radiation. We walked through this journey together and I saw firsthand the struggles that result from injury to the brain. He experienced balance issues, impaired vision, loss of cognitive ability, among other things. He benefited from services at BIAK that allowed him to navigate his difficult journey. I fell in love with the mission and the rest is history. I couldn’t be happier to serve those affected by brain injury and their families.
Brain injuries can be devastating and life-changing. Can you share with us a particularly impactful story of how the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky has helped someone affected by a brain injury?
Roughly 35,000 Kentuckians are affected by brain injury each year, which is double the national average. Brain injury occurs suddenly, without warning, and devastates unprepared families. We actively share our philosophy, experience and skills with brain injury survivors, family members, caregivers, healthcare professionals, legislators, and anyone else who wishes to make a difference in the lives of those affected by brain injury and their families. We have relationships with healthcare providers who introduce us to their patients close to injury onset, even before they know we exist, and we complement medical treatment with services that help them navigate the difficult journey ahead.
What are some of the biggest challenges that you and your team face in advocating for those affected by brain injury, and how do you work to overcome those challenges?
We believe that persons affected by brain injury should be seen for their abilities and not their injury. At BIAK, we strive to meet those with brain injuries where they are and help them to get where they want to be. We reject practices that segregate or seclude a person with brain injury from their family, friends, and the community. Each person with a brain injury needs time to make decisions, accomplish tasks, and to express themselves. We help those affected by brain injury by providing access to information, resources, and support to help them achieve a positive future and community inclusion. We seek to prevent brain injury through legislation, education, and direct action to make Kentucky a safer place to live. We reach into the community to help those affected by brain injury get connected to the right person and place for help and support.
The Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky has been instrumental in establishing the brain injury waivers, the TBI Trust Fund, Sports Concussion protocols, return to classroom protocols, and we are currently interacting with the Judicial system to help them cope with a brain injury population estimated by the CDC to be between 25% and 87%. We help prevent brain injuries by providing bicycle helmets to children, and we host an Educational Summit each year for brain injury professionals.
You mentioned the upcoming Run, Walk & Roll event. How important are community events like this in raising awareness and support for the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky’s mission, and what can people expect from the event?
We are having our annual Run, Walk, and Roll for brain health on Saturday, May 13th at Tom Sawyer Park. This is a tremendous opportunity to raise awareness for those affected by brain injury and we are expecting a huge turnout. The event will include a 5k run and a 1 mile walk and roll. This will truly be an event for the entire family. We will have a DJ, inflatables for the children, food trucks, prizes, awards, and much more. You can also sign up as a team and come out as a group to support those affected by brain injury. We will also be giving away 200 bicycle helmets to children at the event. You can register for the event at www.biak.us.
What message do you have for those who have been affected by brain injury, as well as their families and caregivers, and how can they best get involved with the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky to access support and resources?
If you or a loved one is affected by brain injury, we are here to help. Please call our brain injury helpline at 502-493-0609 if you need assistance or wish to volunteer your time.
What Your Need To Know About the 2023 Run, Walk, and Roll
Run, Walk and Roll (formerly BIAK Walk)
Presented by The Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky (BIAK)
$25 until Sunday, April 30 / $35 After Monday, May 1
Saturday, May 13, 2023
Day of Race Registration: 7:30am – 8:15am
Race Time: 8:30am