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Survivors of brain injury losing strong advocate on P.E.I.

Kenneth Murnaghan of Charlottetown is stepping down as executive director of the Brain Injury Association of P.E.I. after spending the past 10 years raising awareness and funds.
Kenneth Murnaghan of Charlottetown is stepping down as executive director of the Brain Injury Association of P.E.I. after spending the past 10 years raising awareness and funds.

Kenneth Murnaghan has spent the past decade trying to improve the lives of Island survivors of brain injury.

The work has been rewarding, but tiring.

Murnaghan told The Guardian Tuesday he plans to end his run as executive director of the Brain Injury Association of P.E.I.

With Murnaghan, for the most part, running the not-for-profit group as a one-man show, the organization’s future is in doubt.

He will hold a meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Volunteer Resource Centre in Charlottetown to see if there is interest in keeping the association alive.

He welcomes all interested parties to attend.

Having the association fold, he says, would be sad.

“I think it’s important,’’ he says.

Murnaghan, 57, of Charlottetown has been lauded for his determined work since starting the association in June 2008.

Last year, the Charlottetown’s Civic Board for Persons with Disabilities selected Murnaghan for the inclusion award for being instrumental in creating and promoting an environment supportive to persons with brain injuries.

He has worked on many awareness campaigns to prevent brain injuries on P.E.I. He has been involved in numerous fundraisers for the association and has been the driving force behind the promotion of bicycle helmets and using helmets in other Island sports.

“Brain injury is a lifetime injury,’’ says Murnaghan.

“I hope that I have created a greater awareness and understanding of what brain injuries are.’’

A bicycle accident when he was a child has resulted in Murnaghan living with a brain injury for nearly 50 years.

He had a modest hope for the Brain Injury Association of P.E.I. when he first got the group off the ground.

He simply wanted to round up survivors of brain injuries to come up with activities to do.

He expanded the purpose considerably into an association driven to raise awareness and raise funds.

He notes the biggest issue still facing Islanders who have brain injuries is finding adequate services, from speech therapy to physiotherapy.

Murnaghan hopes his swan song will help address this and other critical issues.

He has organized a one-day conference on brain injuries on Oct. 27 in Charlottetown – one day before he ends his run as executive director.

The conference will include discussions on the physical and emotional changes after suffering a brain injury, and sharing new techniques for rehabilitation.

Services available locally to someone with a brain injury and their family will be identified as well with the hope of building on those services.

Murnaghan feels the conference, called Let’s Talk Brain Injuries, is perfect for health-care workers, caregivers, home-care workers, physiotherapists, and anyone else that works with brain injury survivors.

To learn more about the conference or to register, visit www.biapei.com.

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