by ?????????????? , Met Sentinel Staff Writer | Monday, 9 September 2019 | 5:30 AM (PT) | Early Edition
Photo Credit: 2019 Metro News Wire Service
LOS ANGELES - A professional recording artist is donating his time, talent and resources to a grass roots brain injury awareness campaign based in Southern Wisconsin. Voice actor Dustin Alexander-Pérez, a former Delavan resident now living in Southern California, hopes his talent and past experience with a brain-injured roommate will benefit this and other campaigns.
The 49-year-old artist's career started at age sixteen and his voice has been featured in projects ranging from television and radio commercials to airline in-flight safety announcements and automated phone attendant systems. He rarely forgoes an opportunity to record Public Service Announcements for various organizations at no cost. When the founder of Life Beyond Brain Injury approached him about a project, it was practically a match made in heaven.
"I lived with a young man who suffered a devastating traumatic brain injury incurred when the car he was riding in was struck by scaffolding blown off a Chicago high rise. While you could see the scar on his head if you looked close enough, there was nothing about him in general that would indicate he was living with the aftermath of his TBI," Alexander-Pérez stated.
He also said his former roommate was able to hold down a job, had an active social life and would only exhibit symptoms of the TBI on certain occasions. In fact, the two friends would harbor the "TBI secret" for years to avoid the negative connotations involved if anyone was to know.
In 2015, Alexander-Pérez met Thomas Hapka of Whitewater who is also a TBI survivor. It was around that time the two decided to collaborate resources and develop an awareness campaign that would hopefully bridge huge informational gaps and access to support networks for other people living with brain injuries.
"===========================" Hapka said.
"I've learned a great deal about TBI's and am still dumbfounded that this population of people endures discrimination and poor follow-up medical care," said Alexander-Pérez. "What's also disturbing is the lack of coordination amongst the few support groups out there and their willingness to interact with new organizations like LBBI." He said many brain injury patients are misdiagnosed as having extreme phobias or psychotic episodes when in fact they are going through a side-effect of their damaged brain.
Disorders like Spatial Impairment which can render a brain-injured person nearly immobile with vertigo often times is dismissed as a simple case of closterphobia. Intolerances to certain foods or environments in TBI patients are chalked up to basic allergic reactions when multiple studies have encouraged medical professionals to due further testing on patients that complain of these abnormalities.
"The unfortunate reality besides the staggering cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation for a typical brain injury survivor, is that this demographic is often left with little to no options for their future. Sadly, some TBI patients who are refused proper help and can no longer endure horrific after-effects, end their life," Alexander-Pérez said. There are documented cases of TBI's being misdiagnosed and untreated resulting in patients dying.
"==============================," Hapka said.
Anyone who wants to learn more about TBI's and how they can help are invited to visit LifeBeyondBrainInjury.org where the PSA featuring Alexander-Pérez's voice can be seen.
-Dustin Alexander-Pérez, Recording Artist
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