“I lived…there’s a reason why I’m still here, and I guess I have to figure out what my mission in life is.”— Jay Waller, TBI survivor

“He said, “What’s wrong?” I’m like, are you kidding me dude? You’ve been to the brink of death and back and you’re asking me what’s wrong?”— Lisa Poole, sister of TBI survivor

In Going the Distance: Journeys of Recovery, four survivors take us inside the experience of traumatic brain injury (TBI) to reveal their personal stories of devastation, heroism and hope. A corporal in the U.S. Marines, African-American Jason Poole suffered massive head injuries in a roadside bomb in Iraq. Co-ed Kristen Collins was severely injured in a motorcycle accident while away at college. Pre-med student Jay Waller fell victim to a savage road-rage beating while on vacation. Six-year old Ian McFarland survived the car crash that left him an orphan. Along their paths to recovery, these four protagonists relive the dramatic accidents that almost took their lives, learn how to walk, talk and live again, and face the most daunting challenge of all—reinventing themselves—frequently with humor and always with heart. In spite of enduring hardship, including life-long cognitive and emotional challenges, each does succeed in envisioning and achieving a new dream on their life path.

“I’d spent 21 years of my life learning about me, how I do things, how I learn, how I react. And then it all changes. The biggest challenge in my recovery is reinventing who I am…” — Kristen Collins, TBI survivor

Jason has become a poster child for recovery from traumatic brain injury because he has this spirit that ‘I’m gonna have what’s important in life, whatever it takes, I’m gonna do it”. — Dr. Harriet Zeiner, TBI therapist

Called the “silent epidemic,” TBI impacts 1.5 million Americans every year at a staggering cost of $60 billion. Against the backdrop of an embattled health care system and a nation entrenched in war, Going the Distance paints a compelling portrait of the struggles faced by TBI survivors and their loved ones while delivering a hard hitting message about the failing social safety net. Through these individual profilesin- courage, the hour-long broadcast documentary and social engagement campaign will draw attention to TBI survivors who have remained invisible, untreated and often undiagnosed, while providing a forum for their communities and educating the general public.

“We are looking at an epidemic of brain injuries.” — Jill Gandolfi, co-director of the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit of the Palo Alto Heath Care System