CHRISTY CAMPBELL NAMED COURAGE TO COME BACK AWARD RECIPIENT
Christy Campbell, 41, of North Vancouver is the 2016 Courage To Come Back Award recipient in the Physical Rehabilitation category.
Christy had it all: active healthy life; loving partner, rewarding career, happy home, and great friends. Then, in December, 2005, at the age of 31, she was devastated by a stroke. Unable to walk or talk or read, Christy’s vocabulary was wiped out. She could not ask for help, type an email or say her own name. She lost every word but one and learned a new word “aphasia.” Aphasia is a communication disorder best described as being dropped into an alien land where you can’t speak the language and don’t understand a single letter of the alphabet.
Give up? Not a chance. The one word she had was “yes.” Christy was alive and with the support of her husband and many friends and family took her life in an unexpected direction. At the time of her stroke, beyond short-term therapy BC’s medical system had very limited resources for people Christy age with her conditions, this despite the fact that new aphasia cases arise in Canada at about the same rate as cases of breast cancer.
Courageously, Christy decided that she would improve the resources available to brain injury survivors in BC. Six months after her stroke she could say 12 words. Intellect intact, she spent countless hours learning to dress and write with her left hand, learning to walk, learning to drive and learning to read again. She’d lost her career but not her will to contribute; she wants people with aphasia to have the treatment, resources and support they need.
In the years since her stroke, her vocabulary and confidence grew and she continues to overcome the isolation aphasia imposes. Christy inspired and co-founded the annual Sea-to-Sky Aphasia Camp, now entering its seventh year. She established UBC’s Campbell-Purves Aphasia Education Fund and offers her time and energy as a volunteer to Providence Health Care, Columbia Speech and Language Services, the Stroke Recovery Association of BC and other organizations far and wide. She’s now a mother of an active four-year old who loves listening to her read bedtime stories.
Christy will receive her award at The Courage To Come Back Awards gala dinner on Thursday, May 5, 2016 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West. Tickets and information at couragetocomeback.ca
Sonia Deol interviews Christy Campbell – watch live on Global News Hour at 6pm May 2nd
The Province newspaper