An overflow crowd filled the El Caribe Country Club in Brooklyn last Sunday for the Annual Dinner of BINA Stroke and Brain Injury Assistance. Steven Flanagan M.D., Medical Director of Rusk Rehabilitation and member of BINA’s Medical Advisory Board was presented with the Physician Leadership Award. Richard and Frieda Bobo, Board member and longtime friends of BINA, received the Distinguished Service Award, and the Community Impact Award was presented to Rabbi Shmuel and Tzippy Friedler. Mrs. Friedler is BINA’s devoted Director of Case Management.

Elchanan Schwarz, Director of Crisis Intervention at BINA, opened the program by recognizing the three groups of people present: physicians, therapists and facility administrators; the donors who allow BINA to fulfill its mission; and the families who have been affected by stroke or traumatic brain injury. He defined BINA’s job of bringing together these three groups and noted that tribute was being paid to a physician, a staff member and a Board member, all of whom play a critical role in BINA’s work. Mr. Schwarz applauded the often unheralded brain injury survivors and their families who work tirelessly and motivate BINA to facilitate the best rehabilitative care and support on their behalf.

Dinner Chairman Avi Schron expressed his mixed feelings upon arriving at the event, for as much as you wish there was no need for BINA, we must be so thankful that BINA does exist. BINA is there to help families affected by brain injury, and BINA’s Director, Chavie Glustein and her team do so with a level of kindness that is beyond anyone’s understanding. Not only the brain injury survivor, but family and friends, need BINA’s support to get their lives back on track, and BINA needs our support for their growing caseload and the thousands of people that they touch annually.

Board of Directors Chairman Naftali Horowitz described every child’s journey of development, learning to walk, talk and feed themselves, with parents at their side every step of the way, until independence becomes second nature and is taken for granted. However, there are people who wake up in a hospital bed realizing that they can no longer walk, talk or even stand upright. There are children who leave for school in the morning and only return home months later in a wheelchair. They look at their parents with pleading eyes and see fear in return because they are lost and helpless and cannot teach their child to regain their lost functions.

Mr. Horowitz declared that until Chavie Glustein turned tragedy into triumph, these families struggled to restore the lives of their loved ones and navigate the terrifying maze of doctors, therapists and rehabilitation centers. Mrs. Glustein and her staff are there to lessen the fear, to hold the hands of the stricken and their families and to help pave the road to recovery. Mr. Horowitz concluded by thanking the crowd for partnering with BINA, and beseeching them to do their part to help restore the abilities of those who have lost them and so desperately need them back.