On Thursday, April 28, 2016, Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital hosted a reception to view the gallery display of masks created by survivors of brain injury. The event included opening remarks from David Long, MD, Medical Director of Bryn Mawr Rehab's Brain Injury Program, an introduction to the project from Jessica Petrongolo, Speech Language Pathologist and the presentation of two masks by the brain injury survivors who created them.
Speech language pathologist, Jessica Petrongolo, spear-headed this project at Bryn Mawr Rehab and introduced the concept to her patients as a method of expression for their feelings associated with their brain injury. It quickly caught on and the project expanded into other areas of treatment including survivor support groups. For Kevin McDonald, this project resonated with him on a personal level. “The mask project was such a great project for survivors because even though we have an idea what goes on in other survivors lives, we still don’t really know, do we? It was such a great learning experience for me.”
Approximately 65 former patients, members of the community and clinicians attended the event to view over 30 masks created by survivors and to hear their stories. The powerful visual display opened the lines of communication between survivors and empowered them to learn about those that share a similar experience.
As a recognized leader in the field of brain injury rehabilitation, Bryn Mawr Rehab’s mission is to help individuals achieve their maximum recovery and best quality of life after tragedy strikes. Unmasking Brain Injury originated at Hinds Feet Farm in association with the Brain Injury Association of North Carolina. The program’s goal is to promote awareness of the prevalence of brain injury; to give survivors a voice and the means to educate others of what it’s like to live with a brain injury, to show others that persons living with a disability due to their brain injury are like anyone else, deserving of dignity, respect, compassion and the opportunity to prove their value as citizens in their respective communities.