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Arizona girl gifting brain injury recovery kits to community

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Posted at 10:25 AM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-31 14:16:09-04

PHOENIX — An Arizona girl who was seriously injured in a car accident is now working with the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona to put together hundreds of free kits to hand out to others recovering from serious trauma like her.

Jasmine Orona-Hardee, a former high school cheerleader, was enjoying a day out with friends when her car was T-boned at an intersection in Phoenix. The accident led to multiple injuries, including a lacerated liver pelvic fracture and a traumatic brain injury that has permanently impacted her life.

"Having a traumatic brain injury, it makes it harder for me. It's harder to remember things, harder to find what I'm trying to say, like I say it in my head, but it's harder to get out," said Orona-Hardee.

She credited the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona for supporting her through the many challenges she faced while adjusting to life as a brain injury survivor.

Carrie Collins-Fadell, the executive director of the organization, said brain injuries could happen to anyone. Some of the main causes of brain injuries were motor vehicle accidents, falls, firearms, being struck, and blast injuries. Strokes, aneurysms, infection, near drowning, drugs/chemicals, and emotional trauma could also lead to brain injuries.

Collins-Fadell helped Orozco-Hardee, and her mother put together the kits to hand out to all traumatic brain injury survivors.

The kit included information about living well after a brain injury as well as invitations to support groups. The kit also accounted for problems many brain injury survivors could face in the short term and long term.

Other items in the kit include a drug disposal bag to get rid of at-home prescription drugs that are no longer needed, as well as earplugs and a sleep mask for those who suffered heightened sensitivity to light and sound after their injury.

Collins-Fadell said those in recovery could also be at a higher risk for depression and suicide, so the kit includes a journal to help them process their feelings, a gun lock to secure any weapons in the house, along the overdose reversal drug Naloxone in case of an overdose.

To keep others safe, the kit also includes medication lock boxes to secure prescription drugs.

Orona-Hardee said many of these items she wished she had for herself after coming home from the hospital.

To get your free traumatic brain injury kit, CLICK HERE.

Sonu Wasu at KNXV first reported this story.