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Honouring Community Association Long Term Caregivers

Since the late 1980’s, many of the pioneers in developing community supports for persons living with brain injury were caregivers. These family caregivers not only took care of their loved ones, but developed supports through the establishment of local community associations.

In celebration of the launch of “Support, Hope & Resiliency” An Education and Training Program for Caregivers of ABI Survivors we would like to honour these pioneers who have dedicated their lives to supporting people living with the effects of brain injury.


  • Must be a caregiver who showed support for the loved one AND shared their knowledge of their journey to help, inform and guide other family members whose loved ones sustained a brain injury
  • Must have been involved with the establishment of the local community association
  • Must still be connected in some way with the community association
  • Must have been involved for 20 years or longer

At the 2019 Provincial ABI Conference, the following five winners were announced:

Carole-Vincent-Award-WinnerCarole Vincent

Carole’s whole world turned upside down in the blink of an eye one Wednesday evening.  There were no supports, no programs, and nowhere for individuals or their family members of ABI to go for help.  She saw a need in her Community of Belleville for these services, and even though her life was chaotic after her son’s accident, she decided to put the needs of our community first and she made it her goal to ensure that nobody in our community was going to be left dealing with ABI and having to navigate their “new life” alone.

Carole started the Brain Injury Association of Quinte District in 1992.  She has served as a member of the Board of Directors, and has held every position on the board at least once.  She was the original PSC for BIAQD.

Carole has remained in contact with the Association, and she continues to help the Association maintain sustainability, and provide the much needed programs for the members of our community.  She participates in all of our community events, and our fundraisers too. The lives of many people in our community have been a little easier because of her generous act of kindness.

Wendy Charbonneau-Award-WinnerWendy Charbonneau

Wendy was instrumental in starting the Brain Injury Association of Ottawa Valley 29 years ago after her husband received his brain injury.

She has a wealth of knowledge and is always like a mother to everyone wanting to help in any way.  Wendy took care of all the administration for the association.  She started the Step Up program, facilitates the Family Support Group and the concussion Group.  She has also been the Peer Support Program Coordinator for many years.

Wendy has also received the Ontario Governor General Volunteer Award and the Community Association of the Year award.

Shirley & Jackie, Award Winners

Shirley Athoe and Jackie Denham

Shirley and Jackie met in the early 1980’s while both of their sons had received a brain injury in separate motor vehicle collisions.

In 1987, with the encouragement of family and friends they formed the Head Injury Association of Fort Erie.  They worked at their kitchen tables with a portable typewriter, and a post office box until they were able to open a small office.  They received a small United Way grant.  Shirley did the books and paperwork while Jackie did the presentations.

Throughout the years, Jackie and Shirley have been steadfast with networking in communities, advocating for services, supporting others and fundraising.  Not only have they committed their lives to their sons but also to others who need support and guidance.

Jackie and Shirley exemplify the meaning of commitment and dedication for brain injury awareness.

Pioneer Caregiver Award WinnersToby Meehan

Toby is an invaluable member of Hamilton Brain Injury Association offering so much history.  She is very giving of her time and is the first person to offer assistance.  Toby was instrumental in the growth of the membership and personally called many of our current participants to make them aware of what we do and invited them to be a part of our organization.  To this day, Toby remains a strong advocate of our programming and it always education people with the community about brain injury and HBIA.

Toby has been involved in the organization for 33 years.  She has been on various board positions and the founder of the Spouse Support Group. As Toby was unable to accept her award at the conference, it will be presented at a later date.



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