When a child loses a parent, it is devastating and the road to healing is a long and difficult one. Along that road there can be brief stops that help to lessen the grief.
For Jessica Baldwin of Brinston, who lost her dad, Glen, on June 5, 2015, one of those healing stops was an assignment she received during the past school year.
A student at Belleville’s Loyalist College, Jessica was enrolled in the Radio Broadcasting program. The assignment was to produce a 30 second public service announcement.
“It was a 30 second PSA, and the goal was to make the professor cry. I was the one who did it,” says Jessica. “If the PSA was good enough, it went to radio.”
“My dad passed away last June. He had a brain aneurysm that ruptured and caused a stroke. Dad was in his early 20s when he had his first one, and he wasn’t supposed to survive that one. That’s why it was so bad the second time, because he had already had one.”
“He was 50. He didn’t do the medical testing because it was too painful for him, and so I based my PSA on the need to go and get medical help.”
Medical testing to determine an aneurysm and/or rupture, can include an MRI, CT Scan and/or a Cerebral Angiogram.
On her Facebook page, Jessica writes, “My life was changed forever last summer in a way I had never thought it could, and that’s when I started to notice that no one was comfortable talking about brain injuries. My dad will always be my hero, and I will never think less of him because of the brain trauma he experienced throughout his life.”
“Anytime I talk to anyone about brain injury it is like it is a taboo subject. People get uncomfortable and don’t know what to say to you. It’s just as serious as anything else…a broken leg, mental illness. You still have to talk about it.”
Although her dad’s first aneurysm rupture was prior to his marriage to her mom, Leslie, Jessica relates his story as told to her. “It was a life-changing event for him, and it is not something you can just recover from and move on.”
Recovery after a brain injury is very slow and gradual as the brain heals itself. The extent of the healing depends on the extent of the damage.
For those who survive, changes in behavior, mood and emotions are common. Some may experience deficits in cognitive, or thinking abilities.
Jessica’s PSA was entered by her professor for a Broadcast Educators Association of Canada Award. Just days after her graduation from the two-year Radio Broadcasting program, and her May 2 arrival home, Jessica learned that she won the award.
Her 30 second message was very clear and emotional. You can feel her sorrow in it.
It begins with the sound of an MRI imaging machine….her message, “My dad passed away over the summer. He had a brain aneurysm that ruptured and caused a stroke at work….He will never get to see his little girl walk across the stage to get her college diploma or be able to walk me down the aisle to my future groom. That MRI could have saved his life, but it never happened. Brain injury awareness isn’t something we should just brush aside. My family will never be the same, and I don’t want you to experience this. Visit OBIA.CA today and learn more.”
Jessica’s message can be heard at www.beac.ca. While the above gives you some of the words, it lacks the emotion that Jessica poured into the 30 second announcement.
The award ceremony will take place in Halifax later this month. While Jessica is planning to drive to Halifax, her mom and brother Erik expect to fly down and meet her there.
Having successfully finished her two year college program, Jessica is seeking work in radio in Ottawa.