Hi everyone and welcome to our fundraising page! Please help us support two worthy organizations, the LoveYourBrain Foundation and Zeno Mountain Farm by making a donation through our page.
Allow us to introduce ourselves and let you know why we're so passionate about this cause...
Our team of three consists of Charlie McKinley, Kelly McKinley and Jessica Petrongolo. Five years ago, Charlie was in a car accident and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) that almost cost him his life. He was in a coma for over a month and spent another 4 months at the Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital in Malvern, PA where he basically had to re-learn everything he knew.
During his time at Bryn Mawr Rehab, Jessica had the privilege of being Charlie's speech therapist. When she first met him, Charlie was still emerging from his coma. She worked with him daily to help him regain his ability to eat, think and communicate. With the help of Jessica and the other members of the rehab team, Charlie made tremendous progress during his stay and was able to return home to his family.
But the work was far from over. Charlie continued therapy as an outpatient. He eventually regained the ability to walk and perform the day-to-day tasks that we all take for granted. After he finished with formal therapy, Charlie kept looking for ways to improve. He began working with a personal trainer, Barry Swanson of Train Hard Win Big!, and started seeing a chiropractor, Dr. Matt McIlrath to help realign his body. About a year and a half ago, Charlie started working again for the first time since his accident and has many goals for the future!
The unconditional love and support of his parents, Dave and Margie, and his siblings, David, Jenna and Kelly, have been vital to his recovery. His entire family including aunts, uncles, cousins and grandmother have helped Charlie retrain his brain with memories, cognitive questioning and emotional support.
So where does the Love Your Brain Foundation come in?
In September of 2014, Jessica had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Pearce (professional snowboarder, TBI survivor, subject of the documentary The Crash Reel, and co-founder of LoveYourBrain Foundation) when he came to visit the Bryn Mawr Rehab and give a presentation at a local university. Charlie attended the presentation and Jessica was able to introduce him to Kevin afterward. Both Jessica and Charlie were inspired by Kevin and the positivity of the Love Your Brain mission.
Through this connection, we had the amazing opportunity to attend LYB camp at Zeno Mountain Farm last year. The week was more powerful than we ever could have imagined. Not only did we learn more about ourselves, but we formed friendships that will last a lifetime.
“It was life changing. I met so many good people there that are like my second family. I can’t wait to see my friends again!” – Charlie
“I am so glad that my Speech Therapy background allowed me to serve as a resource for the other members of my camp family, but I learned just as much if not more from them. Outside of ‘blood’ family, I have never in my life been in such a loving, positive, and accepting environment.” – Jessica
“I left camp feeling at peace with myself and our journey, hopeful for the future, and excited to go back again!” – Kelly
Four years ago, Charlie was in a wheelchair. This year in Vermont, with Kelly and Jessica by his side, Charlie will run a 1-mile leg of the Burlington Marathon on the Brainfarmers team. Please help us celebrate this accomplishment! Your contribution will directly support LYB camp attendees and further support programs and education for individuals with TBI.
If you can't make a donation at this point, help us reach our goal by sharing this page on Facebook and Twitter. Or, even better, send an e-mail to friends you think might be interested in contributing and include a link to our page!
Thanks SO much for your generosity!!!