Vote 2018 | Public Policy | Informational Webinars | Midterm Elections

I will be joined by Mollie and Zack from the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance Public Policy team to bring you a series of FB Live events to help you prepare for the 2018 elections. These nonpartisan discussions will help you better understand the importance of your vote in the US elections!

You must be a member of “Amy’s TBI Tribe” on Facebook to participate in the live events …. replays will be posted here on this page and also sent out via email if you are subscribed to my newsletter.

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Amy Zellmer Receives “Social Change” Award from Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance | MNBIA |

With the Public Policy team: Mollie, Jeff, me, Zack

Last night was truly such a surprise and incredible honor as I received the award for “Social Change” from the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance.

I was awarded this by Jeff Nachbar, head of the Public Policy division. I have worked closely with Jeff and all of the Citizen’s Advocates over the past three years as we rally at the Capitol and attend “Tuesday’s at the Capitol” every Tuesday during session. It has been such a joy to get to know Mollie and Zack who replaced Erica when she moved on — and I do have to give a shout-out to Erica. She is truly the one person that reached out and kept me coming back to the MNBIA!!

Jeff has taught me pretty much everything I know about politics and how public policy works. He took the time to answer all the questions I had (and I had a lot) and would happily repeat the answers when I asked the same questions over again! I have learned how a bill is created and turned into policy and how a budget is approved and appropriated for.

He also gave me a crash course before I headed to Washington DC last June where I lobbied to save Medicaid (MA, Medical Assistance). It was truly exciting to see the bill get voted down while I was in DC — and I also gave a rally talk at the MoveOn.org rally on the Capitol lawn!

This February was truly an advocacy highlight when Jeff asked me to be the closing speaker at our “Disability Day at the Capitol” rally as we kicked off the session and disability month.

I know that what I am doing is creating change in the world, and helping survivors realize they’re not alone — and hopefully helping the healthcare profession understand more about this invisible injury that affects over 3.5 million American’s each year. 

I was given this award in recognition of all of my efforts to raise awareness across the globe through my podcast, TBI TV, brain health summit, Huff Post articles, books, and traveling across the country speaking to support groups and keynoting at conferences. I have made some truly incredible friends during all of my advocacy work, and I wouldn’t trade this journey for anything!

I do everything I do out of a passion to create more awareness so that others don’t suffer alone the way I did — I want to get resources into the hands of survivors and caregivers sooner rather than later. If sharing my story can change just one person’s journey — it is worth all the blood, sweat, and tears!!

You Make A Difference Award | Dr. Jeremy Schmoe | Midwest Functional Neurology Center

With the MFNC staff: Lori, me, Dr. Schmoe, Dr. Erik, Dr. Kassie, Ashley

This week I gave away my very first “You Make A Difference” award to Dr. Jeremy Schmoe at Midwest Functional Neurology Center (MFNC) in Minnetonka, Minnesota. I presented him with an award for “Outstanding Provider” for his dedication to helping TBI survivors find relief from their lingering symptoms.

I decided to create this award to recognize individuals across the country who are making a difference in the TBI community, including: providers, advocates, survivors, caregivers, and organizations!

I knew that my very first award would be going to Dr. Schmoe, because without him I doubt I would be anywhere near the level of recovery that I am today! It is because of his vast knowledge of the vestibular, central nervous, and neurological systems as a Functional Neurologist that I was able to find relief from my lingering fatigue, dizziness, memory deficits, and eye disorders. No other doctor came anywhere near helping me with my symptoms, and I was often left feeling like I was making it all up and there were days I considered ending my own life.

Some of Dr. Schmoe’s patients were on hand to see him receive his award!

When Dr. Schmoe read one of my Huffington Post pieces he realized I was local to him and reached out to me — this was 2.5 years into my recovery. I blew him off for awhile because I didn’t believe anyone could help me at this point (after being told as much from numerous doctors before him). I finally decided I had nothing to lose and went in for a consultation/exam. I was blown away by his knowledge, and his sincere understanding of how I was feeling. The rest, as they say, is history! (read more about my experience HERE).

So as a small token of my appreciate, I presented Dr. Schmoe with my inaugural “You Make A Difference” award!! Thank you, Jeremy, for all you have done for me and HUNDREDS of patients from across the globe!

Upcoming Book About INXS Front Man, Michael Hutchence, to Feature Quote From Amy Zellmer |

michael hutchence, inxs, tbi, brain injury, concussion, tina hutchence,I am so excited to announce the upcoming book by Tina Hutchence, “Michael: My Brother, Lost Boy of INXS” is due out this September and features a quote from ME! 

I was approached by Tina, who is the sister of the late Michael Hutchence – front man and lead singer of INXS – if she could use a quote from one of my articles she had found on Huffington Post.

This news came the morning after I had received a really nasty email from one of my haters, so it really impacted me to know that my work is reaching thousands (if not millions) of people around the entire world.

 

I am much more emotional since my brain injury, as well as more intuitive. When I started chatting with Tina, I immediately knew I was going to become fast friends with her, and that her work was going to impact SOOO many people, and help create yet another conversation around TBI and how it affects more than 3.5 million Americans each year — and worldwide it is the number one cause of death.

Michael committed suicide in 1997 at the young age of 37. In her book, Tina talks about the challenges he must have faced living with a TBI and taking the stage — with flashing lights and loudsounds — every night on tour.

—–> LISTEN to the PODCAST replay HERE <—–

Read more about Tina and the pre-order herbook HERE.

Faces of TBI Podcast Featured on BlogTalkRadio |

Iamy zellmer, podcast, faces of tbi, BlogTalkRadio, blog talk radio, received some pretty exciting news Friday afternoon from BlogTalkRadio telling me my podcast was being featured on their homepage under “Noteworthy” podcasts!

I have been producing my Faces of TBI podcast since September 2015 and this is the first time I have received a feature on their homepage, so it is truly exciting!

I was told to keep up the good work with fantastic content on my podcast, which tells me I am doing something right when a tiny little podcast about brain injury is being featured on a global website!

A year ago, my podcast was named one of the “top 100 Rising and Popular Podcasts” by Simms media, you can read more HERE.

The episode they featured is “Return to Learn” with Roni Robinson fromChildren’s Hospital of Philadelphia. You can listen to it HERE.

Don’t forget, you can also subscribe through iTunes so you never miss an episode HERE.

HUGE thank you to my podcast sponsor, Midwest Functional Neurology, for making this podcast possible!!

Member Spotlight | The Challenge! Magazine | Brain Injury Association of America

Amy Zellmer, brain injury association of america, advocate, The newest issue of The Challenge! is out, the quarterly magazine of the Brain Injury Association of America. 

I have been writing the quarterly column “Brain Injury Advisory Council Corner: Member Spotlight” for the past two years, and my Editor told me to write my own personal essay for this issue! It’s truly exciting to see my own face staring back at me in this magazine!

Amy Zellmer, brain injury association of america, advocate, I am so honored to be a part of this amazing organization! The advisory council is made up of TBI survivors with lived experience, and we work as a liaison between the BIAA and survivors across the country. As a council, we collectively have a global reach of over 91,000 — which is pretty impressive given there are less than a dozen of us on this council!

You can read the full article online HERE or download the PDF version HERE.

Choose Happy | The Power of Positivity |


Every single day you make choices. You choose what time to get out of bed, what to eat, and what mood you’re going to be in.

Choosing to see the positive isn’t always easy. Nothing in life is always easy. 

But the more you can choose to be positive and grateful, the more fulfilling your life will become.

The hardest part of my recovery journey was accepting “this might be the best i’m going to get.” When I finally had that conversation with myself, and decided to put my big-girl-panties on, it changed the course of my recovery — for the better.

Once we learn to accept who we are RIGHT NOW, we can start to move forward. Living in the past serves NO ONE.

Yes, you may have been an amazing guitar player or an economist. And right now you might not know how to read music or add numbers. But that doesn’t mean you have to be miserable and angry. It’s just a speed bump.

We all need to take time to grieve the old us, and to make sense of the way our world was turned upside down. For me, it took about 15 months. And once I made that shift in my thinking, everything changed.

I realized that this may or may not be temporary. So if  I wanted to help others and make the most of my life, I needed to come to terms with it.

I have touched tens of thousands of lives through my work. Whether through one of my articles, my books, a podcast, or meeting someone in person. There are many survivors who I may never know or meet or know their name, but they have been impacted by my work.

And you know what? Without this injury, I would have never walked down this road.

I am forever grateful for my journey. While I hope to never hit my head again, I know that everything happens for a reason and I was meant to take this journey.

When it feels like the world is closing in around you and you want to scream and cry — GO AHEAD. It’s ok. But when that wave passes: choose happy.

 

Get a FREE Chapter | Life With a Traumatic Brain Injury | by Amy Zellmer

Grab your FREE chapter of my first book, Life With a Traumatic Brain Injury: Finding the Road Back to Normal by filling out the form below!

You will receive an email shortly after submitting with a link to download your free chapter!!

My June Advocacy Trip | Recap | Washington DC | Lansing, MI | New England

 

I have just returned from a two-week advocacy trip to the East Coast and wanted to share a recap with you!

I began my journey in Washington, DC at the Federal Interagency Conference on TBI. I was reunited with a few of my fellow Brain Injury Advisory Council members (Anne, Kelly, Cavin, and Josh) and met some folks I had been following, and made some new friends (hi Elizabeth!).

The first day of the conference the Plenary speakers were outstanding! (if you’re interested in reading some of my notes, I live tweeted — www.twitter.com/amyzellmer). Day two kicked off with Dr. Jeremy Schmoe and I presenting my case study “Brain Injury and the Vestibular System. (You can watch our video on YouTube.)

After the conference I stayed in the DC area for several days with my friend Toni and her service dog, Bud. I spoke at Argosy University to their Neuro Psychology Doctorate students and had a book signing at a local coffee shop (hi Julie!).

From Virginia I traveled to New England where I stayed with my friend, Amy, for a few days. We took a scenic drive up the Maine coast to look at lighthouses, and met up with another of my fellow Brain Injury Advisory Council members — Carole. She joined us for dinner where we waited out a nasty storm, and she brought me some DELICIOUS Maine strawberries that were in-season.

The next day Amy and I were fortunate enough to have lunch with Dr. Stephanie Mills and her daughter, Brooke. Together these two founded National Concussion Awareness Day, with the third annual coming up on Friday, September 21st! Together we did some brain-storming for a few other events we have coming up this year. These two are doing such amazing things for awareness, and I am grateful they had a few hours to spend with me!!

From New England I made my way to Lansing, MI where I was the opening Keynote speaker at their Brain Injury Symposium of Mid-Michigan, put together by Origami Rehab. These ladies were SO fantastic to work with. They made sure I had everything I needed and were incredibly accommodating and kind! The evening before my presentation, they lined up a radio interview with their local WKAR located on the Michigan University campus (which is GORGEOUS, btw), followed by a tour of their amazing facility!! I am super impressed with their rehab center, and am so grateful to know that such a place exists for those in Michigan dealing with brain injury.

My Keynote was well-received and I had amazing feedback. My favorite comment was from the professional photographer who was hired to photograph the event. He came up to me and told me he had been photographing the event for years, and that my presentation was the most engaging talk he had ever heard at the conference. I take that as quite a compliment!!

After Michigan I headed back home to Saint Paul. Pixxie and I are quite happy to be back home and sleeping in our own bed again!! I feel I accomplished a LOT of advocacy work on this trip, and am already looking forward to my next one this fall!

Thanks for reading my update!!