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Brain injuries brought them together, now they help others

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Participants walk in Assiniboine Park during the 12th annual Brain Injury Walk Sunday morning.</p>

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Participants walk in Assiniboine Park during the 12th annual Brain Injury Walk Sunday morning.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/8/2016 (1369 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

When he takes off his ball cap, you can see the scar from where Charles Post’s head was put back together after it was split open just after Christmas in 2014. He didn’t see or hear what was coming.

"I was walking home listening to music," said Post. He had his ear buds in when a drunk driver jumped the curb near Alexander Avenue and Sherbrook Street and ran into him from behind. He didn’t know what had happened until he gained consciousness a month later at Health Sciences Centre.

"I didn’t know where I was."

When he found out he was in the hospital and had suffered severe brain trauma, it was emotionally and psychologically traumatic, he said. "I had no feeling from the waist down," Post said. "I snapped."

He had to use a wheelchair and wasn’t sure if he’d walk again. Taking part in the Manitoba Brain Injury Association walk on Sunday with close to 200 other participants was a big deal for Post, who wants to support and encourage others going through what he went through.

"I’m trying to help people with brain injuries," Post said at Assiniboine Park. "At least I can relate to people. It’s the worst thing to be in a coma and wake up not knowing who you are anymore" or what your future will be, said the 31 year old. His recovery was a huge challenge. "I had to learn how to read, to write, to eat and to walk again."

It was meeting Chris Kasdorf, another brain injury survivor who knew what he was going through and offered encouragement, that helped Post get back on his feet. "I thought ‘He’s walking now — maybe I can walk.’"

CAROL SANDERS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Survivors Chris Kasdorf (left) and Charles Post walking to raise awareness for the Manitoba Brain Injury Association at Assiniboine Park today.</p>

CAROL SANDERS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Survivors Chris Kasdorf (left) and Charles Post walking to raise awareness for the Manitoba Brain Injury Association at Assiniboine Park today.

Eight years ago, Kasdorf was with his brother driving back from the lake when a piece of the fender flew off the vehicle in front of them and hit their windshield. The brothers hit the ditch, rolling at least five times. Kasdorf said he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle. He had severe head and spine injuries and spent a month at Health Sciences Centre.

"I came to at Riverview (Health Centre) and everything was different," said Kasdorf, who is walking and talking now and volunteering twice a week at Riverview, hoping to inspire others who’ve suffered a brain injury.

Doctors can’t say how much you will recover, Kasdorf said. It can be lonely and frightening not knowing what your future will be like, he said.

"I know how hard it is to go through this," said Kasdorf, 40, who was volunteering at Riverview when he met Post, who was there during his rehabilitation.

Post said he still has poor short-term memory and is unable to run, but after coming through the long, dark tunnel of recovery and rehabilitation, he’s found a bright side.

Before his brain injury, Post said he was involved in gangs, "selling drugs and hurting people."

Now he has a sense of purpose and said he wants to help people the way he was helped by Kasdorf.

"My whole lifestyle has changed."

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Reporter

Carol Sanders’ reporting on newcomers to Canada has made international headlines, earned national recognition but most importantly it’s shared the local stories of the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home.

Read full biography

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