Amy Zellmer suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in February of 2014 after slipping on a patch of black ice, landing full-force on the back of her skull. Her life-long career as a photographer was in limbo, as she had difficulty remembering how to use her camera and lighting controls. Additionally, her memory problems caused her to forget appointments, and return emails. Frustration and depression set in as doctors weren’t giving her any answers or treatment options.
In 2015 she began sharing her journey on the Huffington Post and quickly grew a following of almost 10,000 fellow survivors and caregivers who were on a similar path and looking for a place to connect with others who truly “get it.”
Eventually Amy would join the Brain Injury Advisory Council through the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) as well as the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance’s “Citizen’s Advocate” group where she lobbies for TBI survivor’s healthcare and advocates awareness of this invisible injury that affects over 3.5 million Americans each year.
She began “Faces of TBI” a year into her recovery as a place to share resources with other survivors and caregivers, and to give them hope that they are not alone. At the same time, she envisioned an awareness campaign that would incorporate her lifelong love (and career) of photography with her passion for advocacy.
About the awareness campaign
Amy is traveling the country beginning February 2019 in honor of her five-year “brainiversary” and also in conjunction with Brain Injury Awareness Month (March). She is going to travel the country speaking to local brain injury groups and combining her love of photography to highlight survivors and put a face on brain injury.
She will photograph survivors across the country to show that this invisible injury affects all ages, race, gender, and income levels. It does not discriminate, and it isn’t always visible.
Amy’s intention is to give brain injury a “face” to grow awareness through a social media campaign with the hashtag #NotInvisible. While many brain injury survivors look completely “normal” and can walk and talk, most outsiders have no idea of the pain and suffering that the person is going through internally.
The #NotInvisible campaign provides a platform for educating the general public about the high incidence of brain injury — and how to find resources if it happens to someone they know. It also empowers those who have survived to become more engaged in their activism by sharing their story as well as giving brain injury a face.
To conclude the campaign in March of 2021, Amy’s intention is to unveil this exhibit at the Congressional Brain Injury Awareness Day in Washington, DC. From there, the
exhibit will travel the country and be displayed at local brain injury conferences, and
additionally it will be made into a coffee table book with proceeds benefiting survivors through LoveYourBrain retreats.
Connect with Amy on all of social media to follow the campaign. Be sure to share, retweet, tag, and support as much as you can in an effort for us to get as much reach as possible across the globe!!
Part of the proceeds from the fundraising events will be donated to the LoveYourBrain foundation to directly benefit survivors through a week-long wellness retreat.
LoveYourBrain is the message that embodies our positive approach to brain injury prevention and
healing. Our programs are designed to build community, foster resilience, and help
people understand the importance of loving your brain. Founded by Kevin Pearce who suffered a near fatal traumatic brain injury while training for the 2010 winter Olympics. Kevin’s remarkable resilience has inspired millions through the HBO documentary, The Crash Reel. This experience brought to light the significance and prevalence of TBI.
We have a fundraising page set up, every $1 raised helps a brain injury survivor attend one of the wellness retreats!! Make a donation here: https://give.classy.org/notinvisible
Meet our Strategic Alliances
These international non-profit partners will help this campaign have an extended reach within the brain injury community and further expand our reach.
Meet our Major Sponsors
We thank our generous sponsors for their financial support, without them we would not be able to execute this amazing awareness campaign!
Midwest Functional Neurology Center is a Nationally recognized leader in Neuro-Recovery and performance. Managing complex concussion, post-concussive and traumatic brain injuries. www.mnfunctionalneurology.com
Meet our In-Kind Sponsors
We thank our in-kind sponsors for their services and products that will help us enhance our awareness campaign.