1st Annual Statewide Walk For Thought

Group of Smiling People

It started out as a challenge by CALBIA Board Chairman, Dr. Mark Ashley, but turned into reality on Saturday, March 29, 2008. The California Brain Injury Association (CALBIA) hosted the 1st Annual Statewide Walk For Thought in Bakersfield, Sacramento, and San Diego, while the Brainstorming 4 Us Support Group in Victorville hosted a walk of their own. With only 3 ½ months to plan the event, site coordinators and volunteers worked diligently to achieve the goal of CALBIA - to raise awareness statewide about brain injury.

The Walks were held simultaneously throughout the state, each having their own individuality. In Bakersfield, CALBIA Board Chairman Dr. Mark Ashley was presented with three proclamations, in recognition of Brain Injury Awareness Month and the work of CALBIA, from Mayor Harvey Hall, Assemblywoman Jean Fuller, and County Supervisor Ray Watson. In addition, Dr. Ashley was presented with an individual Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, in recognition of his outstanding and invaluable service to the community. With local TV News Anchor, Robin Mangarin, acting as the emcee for the event, she signaled the start of the Walk at approximately 10:30 a.m. and the 240 walkers were on their way for a 3-mile trek along a bike trail in at Yokuts Park. The park was festive with music, a balloon arch, banners, and a large US Flag draped from a Bakersfield City Fire Department Ladder Truck. Also on hand were representatives from the California Highway Patrol and Hall Ambulance. When the walkers returned, they enjoyed sandwiches and visiting the numerous vendor tables. By the end of the day, net proceeds to CALBIA exceeded $27,000. Special thanks to newly appointed Board Member Kevin Burton for his diligence in securing sponsors for the event, as well as for his help in planning the Walk.

Approximately 200 walkers showed up at the scenic De Anza Cove in Mission Bay, San Diego. It was a perfect location to be near the water where the mornings are a little cooler for walk participants. The turnout of persons with brain injuries was phenomenal and they were so excited about having a walk of their own to participate in. The Acquired Brain Injury Schools did a great job at promoting the walk and securing donations for CALBIA. Site Coordinator Donna Lewis did a fantastic job organizing the walk almost entirely by herself. Donna, co-founder of Freedom House, a nonprofit home for persons with brain injury, gratefully accepted 20% of the $6,000 net proceeds raised from the Walk in San Diego on behalf of Freedom House. Volunteers from the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation were instrumental in helping out the day of the Walk and have indicated interested in joining with Freedom House next year to organize CALBIA's 2nd Annual Walk For Thought in San Diego.

Almost 200 enthusiastic walkers showed up in Sacramento, despite the forecast for rain. Walkers traveled from neighboring cities to attend and support the work of CALBIA, and their family and friends who have been affected by brain injury. Site Coordinator Shawn Brown, had limited help with the organization of the Walk, but relied heavily on family and friends to help out the day of the Walk. CALBIA Member Michael Zavacky emceed the Sacramento Walk and was inspired to be involved in the planning of next year's Walk For Thought. While the Walk netted $2,000 for CALBIA, there is a lot of potential to tap into local sponsors and grow the event in coming years.

In Victorville, where the idea of a statewide Walk For Thought was inspired, approximately 240 participants came out to show support for persons with brain injuries and their caregivers. This Walk was hosted by the Brainstorming 4 Us Support Group, who generously donated $3,500 of their net proceeds to CALBIA. Co-founders of the Support Group, Lisa Moss and Tanya Ison, were instrumental in organizing volunteers and obtaining sponsorships to ensure the success of this event. Many thanks go out to the entire community of Victorville for their continued support of CALBIA.

The Walk For Thought was a great way to end a month-long awareness campaign and CALBIA would like to thank all site coordinators, volunteers, and sponsors that came forward to make this 1st Annual Statewide Walk For Thought a huge success. We look forward to growing this event in future years and are already in the planning phase the 2nd Annual Statewide Walk For Thought on Saturday, March 28, 2009 so mark your calendars and Save the Date!

Success of this event is measured by many things, the most important is bringing persons with brain injury together, along with their families, friends, and caregivers, and allowing them the opportunity to participate in the advocacy effort to raise awareness of brain injury. The financial success of this event would not have been possible without the generous contributions of the following organizations and individuals that sponsored this event:

  • Bakersfield

  • Albertson's
  • Bagels & Blenderz
  • Bakersfield Memorial Hospital
  • Bakersfield Neuroscience & Spine
  • Institute
  • Ben Stinson
  • Centre for Neuro Skills
  • Chevron Valley Credit Union
  • Diane Lake
  • Dr. Stephen Newbrough
  • Good Time Entertainment
  • HealthSouth
  • KGFM Radio
  • Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield
  • Pyramid Oil Company
  • San Joaquin Community Hospital
  • Stinson's Stationers
  • Three Way Chevrolet
  • Tony Davey
  • Too Fat's Sandwiches
  • Valley Valve, Inc.
  • Walker-Lewis Rents
  • Young Wooldridge
  • San Diego

  • Alvarado Hospital
  • Lowe's
  • Mimi's Café
  • The Original Road House Café
  • Vons
  • Victorville

  • Bob's Tire Service
  • Brainstorming 4 Us Support Group
  • Carters Balloon
  • Daily Press
  • Designs by Vista
  • Kat Country
  • Craig Kurdie
  • Legacy Electric Corporation
  • Joel D. Moss
  • Oasis church
  • Out of this World BBQ
  • Riverside Sheriff's Association
  • Sheer Associates
  • Spring Valley Lake Associates
  • Team Ahonui Bosom Buds
  • Teresa Taylor
  • Roger Thornhill
  • Victor Valley Community Hospital
  • Carol & Dennis Yule