Our Celebrate Life campaign features persons served celebrating life after a brain injury, which looks different for everybody. Some celebrate by going back to school or back to work, others celebrate by camping with their grandchildren or celebrating a new baby. Whatever it may be, On With Life is proud to celebrate each and every one of their achievements.
We invite you to share how you celebrate life! If you are a current or past person served at On With Life, click here to participate!
When Tom Sandmeier had a stroke in 2012, doctors were unable to predict how much function would return for him. Tom spent three months in Inpatient Rehabilitation and six months in Outpatient Rehabilitation, both at On With Life. Now, he is enjoying life, which means gardening, hunting, camping, exercising, grilling and smoking meats, riding the ATV, and most importantly - taking care of his grandchildren.
"Being able to see my kids raise children of their own, to read to them, play games and put together puzzles, that's all I really could ask for."
Norman Stine's semi-truck was split into two pieces when it was hit by a train in 2013. After a five-month stay at in On With Life's post-acute program and six months in the Outpatient Neuro Rehab program, Norman is back to doing what he loves: spending time outdoors, mowing the yard, moving hay bales in the tractor and being back on the farm. But most importantly, he loves spending time with his 11 grandchildren and attending their concerts, ball games, and school programs.
Laurie suffered an anoxic brain injury caused by ventricular fibrillation in August 1996; at the time, Laurie was 24 years old with an infant daughter Traci. Laurie is a Nebraska Huskers fan and especially enjoys watching them play football, having books read to her, and looking at pictures of her family.
Christina Kuecker was riding her moped through Windsor Heights, as she did every morning on her commute to work, when she was blindsided by another vehicle in 2011. She arrived at On With Life unable to walk, talk or sit on her own. Now, she is working on her third college degree (two were from prior to TBI) at DMACC in Culinary Arts. She loves to cook, bicycle and dance to live music.
Eugene Chen was a 25-year-old Ph.D. student at the University of Iowa when his Ford Escort was t-boned by a Ford F-150 in 2011. He spent 12 days in a coma and then came to On With Life for four months of intense rehabilitation. Now, four years later, Eugene is doing very well. He works as a technical market analysis lead at an engineering firm. He got married, and he and his wife, Yuan Wang, welcomed a baby girl, Evangeline, in July.
"I am doing very well. I just love being a dad. I am so proud of myself and my family for getting through this."
Tyler Osmundson was a 19-year-old football player home on spring break when his car was hit by a garbage truck in 2013. After spending 11 weeks in a coma, he arrived at On With Life unable to eat, walk or talk. Now, nearly three years since his accident, Tyler is living in his own house and driving, and enjoys working out at the gym. Tyler also wants to give back, so he and his dog, Chance, volunteer at On With Life each week. "To see that I'm living on my own, driving my truck, volunteering - that's going to inspire someone."
"I'm happy. My life is really starting to come together."
Jodie suffered from a stroke in 2004 when he was just 35 years old, but he didn't let that change his upbeat attitude and friendly disposition. Jodie leads a busy life spending time with his three daughters and volunteering with his dog, Eleanor. He likes to be outside, whether it's riding his trike on the bike trails in Ankeny or visiting his parents' farm in Bedford. Jodie lives in the Apartments of Owl Creek, where he helps plan social events and was an advocate for the community garden.
"I love being outside and helping care for the garden."
Richard was physically assaulted in 2009, and suffered a brain injury as a result. He loves his wife Traci, step-son CJ, and daughter Skylar and seeing their pictures. His daughter writes him letters often, and he enjoys hearing them read. He loves Nascar and the Oakland Raiders, watching sports on television, and going outside as much as possible for the fresh air and sunshine.
Cheryl Weber had been experiencing symptoms of Parkinson's Disease for eight years before participating in On With Life's LSVT BIG program in 2013. And thanks to the program, she is enjoying retirement to its fullest: spending time outdoors gardening and caring for their many animals - including her three beloved horses, her four beautiful grandchildren, and her husband's parents.
"I feel really, really lucky. I feel like I have a sense of control over this disease. I'm as active as I want to be."
Lindsay suffered a stroke following the birth of her son, Easton, in June 2012. She continues to make strides and is now able to walk with assistance. Her speech is also improving which is very exciting for her family. Lindsay enjoys going to concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends, especially her son, Easton.
Beatrice suffered a stroke secondary to a ruptured brain aneurysm in 2008, and she spent five months at On With Life for post-acute inpatient rehabilitation. Now, Beatrice enjoys being more active and spending more time at home with her family.
Heather Randolph had an anoxic brain injury caused by respiratory failure following an asthma attack in 2001. She was just 20 years old and had an infant son, Julian. Heather's son is the love of her life, and she loves looking at pictures of him and hearing about the young man he is becoming. She also enjoys animals and the zoo and going to the movies, county fairs and the lake.