We’re MOVING FORWARD! is a small 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization founded by three women whose own lives were dramatically impacted along with that of a family member who sustained a traumatic brain injury. Ronda Alcorn, Linda Countryman, and Tara Pepiton all have sons who were the unfortunate victims of such an injury and we understand first hand the long and difficult process involved in recovering from such a devastating event. We also understand the challenges faced by both the survivor and their families when trying to rebuild lives that were so drastically changed forever in an instant.
The foundation for this group began several years ago with a small group of survivors and family members in similar circumstances who began seeking out more ways to interact with others outside of a “support group” environment. More often than not, a brain injury leads to long-term, and sometimes permanent, physical, cognitive, or emotional disabilities for which countless clinical programs exist to provide rehabilitative assistance. Equally important, however, is the return to a “somewhat normal” social life which is generally fostered through personal interaction and activities that take place outside the clinical or institutional environment. Unfortunately, there is little to nothing currently being offered to address this issue as part of the typical rehabilitation process.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) falls under the broader category of acquired brain injury (ABI) which really encompasses two basic types of brain injuries. An acquired brain injury is generally defined as damage to the brain that was not present at birth, and includes both traumatic and non-traumatic injuries. Traumatic brain injuries result from a sudden insult or blow to the head caused by such incidents as motor vehicle accidents, open or penetrating wounds, concussions, gunshots, and assaults. Non-traumatic brain injuries originate in more non-violent ways such as stroke, brain aneurysm, tumors, lack of oxygen to the brain (hypoxia and anoxia), and infection. While their underlying causes may differ, the end result is still the same and often means that a very long and difficult recovery process lies ahead for both the injured person and those who love them.
The lasting effects of an acquired brain injury often make it difficult for the survivor and their family to participate in regular social events or public activities. So, at least once a month for the last several years, we’ve organized a social event or activity ranging from a simple trip to the movies to a three day adventure out of town with adaptive cycling, kayaking, and a group barbeque as part of the weekends events. In the years since those first few families began to get together, the group has grown to include more than 150 followers and participants just in our local area. As we continue to attract more and more survivors and family members seeking to fill this social void in their lives we recognize the importance of what this group means to so many.
Due to their current circumstances many survivors and their families are left to deal with overwhelming medical costs and the financial hardships that result from taking so much time away from their jobs. And while some survivors may eventually be able to return to work in a more limited capacity, others remain unemployable due to their disability. As a consequence, they may find themselves unable to include social activities as an important part of their ongoing recovery. As we’ve grown to include so many more participants, it was also becoming increasingly more difficult for us as a group to find appropriate venues in which to hold many of our events due to the high cost involved.
We’re MOVING FORWARD! was thus formally established as a non-profit organization on October 14, 2014 as a means to continue offering this very important avenue for growth, and do it in a way that will allow us to reach more families and provide a wider range of group activities and events. The organization is structured in such a way as to involve the entire group in the planning, funding, and execution of group events and activities; further providing the stepping stones for our participants to initiate and become involved in the rebuilding of their own social lives, develop new relationships, and continue to strengthen existing ones. With the overall goal of providing a sense of community among the survivors and family members, we hope to create more opportunities for peer mentoring and leadership, encourage the exchange of ideas and information, and ultimately inspire the return of hope, strength, and joy to those who get involved.
As a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, we are now able to accept donations and conduct fundraising events to offset these and similar costs. One hundred percent of all proceeds gained through donations and fundraising efforts go directly toward the funding of group events, activities, and their associated costs. The establishment of this organization is considered by the founders to be a “labor of love”, and our overhead is limited only to those expenses necessary to maintain the organizations infrastructure as there are no salaries to be drawn and no profit to be made by anyone involved in the management or operation of We’re MOVING FORWARD!
We encourage and welcome anyone whose life has been affected by brain injury and find themselves in similar circumstances to contact us and get involved! And to those who wish to help in other ways, we welcome your support and greatly appreciate your contributions.