Last updated on 12-20-2017

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Quality of Life
Grant Recipient
2013 & 2015
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
National Stroke Association Seal

The Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association

  • Is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization¹ made up of and led by volunteers
  • Is a 150-member team of trained volunteers
  • Is a Peer Visitor program for ALL types of brain injuries, including:
    • Aneurysms
    • Anoxia
    • Beatings
    • Brain bleeds
    • Brain diseases
    • Car wrecks
    • Cerebral Palsy
    • Chiari Malformation
    • Concussions
    • Drug Overdose
    • Falls
    • Military service
    • Sports injuries
    • Strokes
    • Surgery
    • Tumors
    • etc.
  • Provides Hope, Support, Empathy, Education, and Information for hospitalized and rehabilitating brain injury survivors and their families from someone who has BEEN THERE and DONE THAT! ©
  • Visits with over 8,800 brain injury survivors and their caregivers each year
  • Provides Peer Visits:
    • On-site (hospital/rehab facility)
    • Arranged (in homes, coffee shops, restaurants, nursing homes, etc.)
    • Via phone calls
    • Through email

¹ A copy of this foundation's annual return is available upon written request to Ann Boriskie (see Contact page).

Video camera Watch this YouTube video about our organization!

The Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association team members give support and resources at a critical time in the recovery process.

We offer:

  • A role model — For the survivor, family members, and friends, to see how recovery from brain injury can result in a happy and healthy life. We demonstrate how survivors learn to cope with their injury or illness, and learn to develop compensatory strategies and acceptance.
  • Information and Referral Services — A packet of information to be taken home, full of educational materials and information about brain injury, community resources, information on financial and governmental services, support groups, stories from survivors, lists of books and websites, and how to care for someone with a brain injury; and provide suggested referrals for medical specialists, counseling, physical rehabilitation, support groups, etc.
  • Empathy — A listening ear and a sounding board for caregivers and survivors.
  • Coping Strategies — Sharing positive strategies that have worked for each of us.
  • Direction — A "roadmap" which will assist caregivers and survivors in navigating the road ahead, including how to obtain financial support for therapies, treatments, and services from organizations that provide monetary support.

The Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association's goal is to continue to expand our Peer Visitor Program throughout the state of Georgia and across the United States. We have received many compliments about our Peer Visitors, their help and support, the information and resources provided, and the timing of the contacts.

Awards and Recognition

  • Ann Boriskie Hospital Hero Award 2017Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association Director Ann Boriskie Wins Statewide Hospital Hero Award. Ann was awarded the prestigious Georgia Hospital Heroes Award at the Georgia Hospital Association's (GHA) annual Hospital Hero Awards luncheon. Ann was one of only nine individuals statewide to receive the Hero Award. She was recognized for her help in offering recovery resources to brain injury and stroke survivors and caregivers.

    Watch the YouTube video on why Ann received the Hero award.

    View more photos from the luncheon of friends and supporters of our association who attended the Hero Award Luncheon Ceremony.

    Read more about this award in the GHA Press Release (PDF), the Emory University Hospital Newsletter (PDF), the Shepherd Center Volunteer Newsletter (PDF), and the Shepherd Center website.

  • 2016 Best Practice Award for Community Outreach at the Georgia Society of Volunteer and Retail Professionals – for the partnership with Piedmont Atlanta to establish the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association's program to Peer Visit with patients and their families who had a stroke or any form of brain injury. The association's work with Piedmont Atlanta was submitted by Kevin E. Brown, Volunteer Director at Piedmont Atlanta.
  • Brain Injury Law Center's Teach Believe Inspire Award. Ann Boriskie is the May, 2015 Teach Believe Inspire recipient for the way she responded to a terrible car crash that forever altered the course of her life. Read more about the award as well as BILC's interview with Ann on their website.
  • Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association Receives Reeve Foundation Grant to support their efforts to hand out a free information packet to every survivor and his/her family.

    The Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association, whose volunteers support Shepherd Center brain injury patients and their loved ones, has received a 2015 Quality of Life Grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. The funds will go toward the production of information packets that volunteers provide to those they seek to help. Read the full story on Shepherd Center's website.

    Read in Shepherd's Volunteer News for June 2015 about the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association being awarded a Reeves Grant and extending kudos to the Shepherd Brain Injury Peer Visitors for their service and great help.

  • Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Quality of Life grant was awarded to the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association for 2013 and 2015. The Foundation gave our association the grant to support our endeavors to hand out wonderful Packets of Information to all of the brain injury and stroke survivors that we Peer Visit. Click here to read more about this grant.

    Join the Dana & Christopher Reeve Foundation's new campaign, THE BIG IDEA — supporting "the most promising research that I have seen in my 18 years at the Reeve Foundation," says Donna Valente. Go to www.ReeveBigIdea.org.

  • 1st Runner-up in Scana Energy's "Heartwarmers" 2014 Contest - The Heartwarmers Contest highlights SCANA Energy customers and their favorite community not-for-profit organization. See our photo on SCANA's Facebook page.
  • Connections for a Cause 2014 Enriching the Experience Award – Recognizing the limitless value of collaboration between community entitites in enriching reahabilitative experiences, from The Brookdale Center of Healthy Aging & Rehabilitation (part of the NCH Healthcare System).
  • Ann Boriskie 2014 Greene Award2014 Joseph D. Greene Community Service Award — Ann Boriskie is one of four individual recipients of the Joseph D. Greene Community Service Award from the Healthcare Georgia Foundation. This award is only presented every two years.

    Gary D. Nelson, Ph.D., President of Healthcare Georgia Foundation, stated: "Their voluntary service, frequently invisible to others, is perhaps the most critical component of care for the underserved and for the health and well-being of their community."

    Read the Press Release announcing the award!

  • Palacia Seaman Altruism Award 2013 by Emory Healthcare Wesley Woods Center (presented to a special person and/or group because of their altruistic [principle of living for the good of others] spirit)
  • Golden Apple Family Services Department Award (Children's Scottish Rite) — 2013
  • The Spirit of Shepherd Center Award for Excellence in Volunteer Service April 12, 2012
  • 11 Alive Community Service Award 2011 (one of 11 recipients, including Ted Turner; awarded by WXIA-TV/Atlanta, Channel 11)
  • Recognized as one of the 2009 Shepherd Angels (for outstanding volunteer service to the Shepherd Center and Shepherd Pathways)
Beryl Waters
Beryl Waters and Ann Boriskie

Beryl Waters volunteers at Shepherd Center daily. She is a Brain Injury Peer Visitor as part of the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association's Program at Shepherd. Beryl is a survivor of two brain aneursyms.

She loves plants and lovingly takes care of the plants in the Shepherd greenhouse and in Shepherd's beloved Secret Garden (a place many patients and families go to relax and enjoy being outside, away from the hospital setting).

Read more (PDF) about Beryl in Shepherd Center's September 2017 Newsletter.

UW Peer Visitors
UW Peer Visitors
UW Peer Visitors

Brain Injury Peer Visitors bring understanding to patients at UW Hospital

The University of Wisconsin Hospital and School of Medicine and Public Health has a new Brain Injury Peer Visitor Program in their Neuro ICU Unit and Neuro Unit. This program is part of the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association.

UW Hospital has six volunteers working in the Brain Injury Peer Visitor program. Five of the volunteers are former brain injury patients at UW Hospital, and the fifth is the caregiver of a former patient.

The volunteers visit with current brain injury patients and their families. They answer questions, listen and, maybe most importantly, let the patients know they are not alone.

UW Hospital has become the first hospital in the Midwest to create a Brain Injury Peer Visitor Program!

Read an article about the program on the UW website!

Watch a news story on the program from WISC-TV News 3, Madison!

Bill Heidecker

Dr. Bill Heidecker was a full-time dentist when he had a stroke in 2013. His rehabilitation work at Shepherd Center and Emory Rehabilitation Hospital, and his own determination, helped him recover back to the friendly, warm, and caring person that he is today. He still does some dental work on lifetime patients, and is a volunteer.

Bill is a Brain Injury Peer Visitor with our own Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association, providing help to other stroke survivors and their families. He volunteers at the two places he attributes to "saving his own life" — Shepherd and Emory.

Read more (PDF) of Bill's story and how his trusted friend, his dog, saved his life.

Tom Leahy

One of our invaluable Peer Visitors, Tom Leahy, is in the January 2015 Shepherd's Volunteer News! Tom has been Peer Visiting at Shepherd ABI, NSU and Emory Eastside in Snellville for years now.

He often reviews my manuscripts and gives me great business advice and words of wisdom from his vast experience and knowledge. He also comes to most Packet Parties to help us assemble new Packets of Information. He takes in new packets and pink invites when we are out of stock. I just want to THANK TOM and acknowledge this great article and all of his hard work. Thanks for mentioning our Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association and program!

~ Ann Boriskie

Read the article here (PDF)!

Brookdale Center

Read 'Visitors' Changing Lives One Story At A Time
in the NCH Healthcare System's
Health Matters January 2014

Read Surprising Help for Brain Injury Survivors (PDF)

The article explains the role of the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association and program, and how other survivors help patients at the NCH Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging & Rehabilitation improve!

Naples, Florida now has a Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association team of volunteers (all brain injury survivors) at the 54-bed rehabilitation center at The Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging & Rehabilitation. Brookdale is part of the NCH Healthcare System.

Naples found Ann Boriskie, the director of the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association, via the Internet, and worked about 9 months with Ann to have her establish their Brain Injury Peer Visiting team.

Read the full story here!

Grady team
Grady Hospital selected the Brain Injury Peer Visitor team of volunteers to be their Volunteer of the Month during Stroke Awareness Month, May 2013!

Click here for the Grady monthly newsletter, INSIDE GRADY, May 2013!

Spinal Column Spring 2013 Special Visits
Ann, Kris, RoseAnn, Laura, Bruce
Shepherd Center's online Spinal Column Magazine has a wonderful article on our Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association and program at Shepherd, written by John Christensen.

Read the story about four brain injury survivors and how they "give back" their help to assist other brain injury patients and their families at the Shepherd Center and Shepherd Pathways. Told in their own words, read the moving stories of: the program's founder, Ann Boriskie (car wreck survivor); Bruce Allen (abscesses in his brain); Kris Lorenz (survived a car wreck with an 18 wheeler truck); Roseann Olson (actually died and drowned when scuba diving and lived to tell about it).

Read this article and see all of the photos (PDF)!

Ann Boriskie at the Pilot Inernational Convention Ann Boriskie, a member of the Peachtree Pilot Club in Atlanta, Georgia, spoke at the Pilot International Annual Convention & Leadership Conference on July 20, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The title of her speech was "Life Will Never be the Same — But it Can Be Better!" She spoke to a room of almost 1,000 Pilot Club members from across the United States and the world.

On July 21, Ann presented an informative workshop on "First Aid for Brain Injury Survivors & Their Loved Ones; Hope, Support, Empathy, Education & Information©".

Pilot International's main mission is to educate about brain health and brain safety.

Ann Boriskie & Fred Kalil
Ann Boriskie with Fred Kalil of WXIA 11-Alive
Exciting news! Our director, Ann Boriskie, was awarded one of the eleven 2011 Community Service Awards from WXIA 11-Alive for creating, developing, and implementing the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association! We are all very proud of Ann and are honored to be a part of this much-needed service. Congratulations, Ann!

Watch a YouTube video about Ann, her award, and our association!

Croix and Delia

New Peer Visitor on the Block!

Meet Croix, a Canine Assistants Golden Lab Service Dog who visits with Sue and Eileen Harrison at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta/Scottish Rite and at Shepherd Pathways! He is a sweet, gentle boy who is willing and able to share his unconditional love with all who are interested!

Read about Croix!

Learn more about Canine Assistants.

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