Survivor’s story inspires Bike-A-Thon

East Hartford – 4/9/10 - For over 30 years, Joe Damon was an avid cyclist and marathon runner. In a moment, that changed forever.

In 2006 Damon was involved in a devastating motor vehicle accident that left him a host of physical and cognitive challenges, including a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

“Before my TBI, I was a competitive triathlete and a marathon runner, including the Boston Marathon. I made many week long bicycle tours in the company of my wife, Lynn.”

Returning to cycling became paramount to Damon. A pivotal point in that grueling journey back came through contact with the Brain Injury Association of Connecticut (BIAC).

“I became familiar with BIAC following my TBI as my family sought assistance in the recovery process.”

Through BIAC, Damon was introduced to local supports and information available to brain injury survivors throughout the state. Located in East Hartford, BIAC serves as a resource in brain injury prevention and recovery, and promotes services to facilitate full inclusion for brain injury survivors within their local community.

With the economy struggling and independent donations reduced, BIAC staff began researching new fundraising opportunities to offset budget constraints. Damon’s call to the organization was fate.

Brain Injury Services Director for BIAC, Carrie Kramer explains.

“Within weeks of Joe’s initial contact with our office, I was approached by a well respected brain injury professional and cycling enthusiast. He felt the cycling community was the perfect group for BIAC to target in an effort towards increasing brain injury awareness and funding for our organization. Through these meetings, the BIAC Tour of Lights was born.”

Kramer stresses the importance of social and community involvement for brain injury survivors as a critical factor in the road to recovery. For Damon, it goes much further.

“Bicycling helps me recapture some of my old self. Cycling provides an escape, but also a challenge as it requires sequential thinking, a skill that brain injury survivors can find difficult. There is a component of liberation in cycling.”

Sponsored by the Law Offices of Tony Sheffy, the May 15th BIAC Tour of Lights Bike-A-Thon guides cyclists on a scenic tour of the Connecticut shoreline stretching from Avery Point, Groton, into Watch Hill, RI. The route encompasses breathtaking ocean views while passing several New England landmark lighthouses.

Damon’s advice for cyclists “Set your goals realistically and revise your goals as your fitness improves. Make safety a first priority, but always have fun.”

For more information on brain injury, or to register for the BIAC Tour of Lights Bike-A-Thon, please go to www.biact.org.