In 1975, Karen Schurig’s world was rocked by a phone call. It was the kind of bone-chilling call that changes your life. There had been a car accident in nearby Tam Valley and Karen’s daughter, Lise, age 14, had suffered traumatic injuries in the accident. Lise was in a coma for four months and hospitalized for a year. She was not able to return to high school and it was obvious that nothing would ever be the same for Lise and her family.
Once Lise was released from the hospital, Karen and her family joined approximately 4 million Americans who, like her, had suddenly and unexpectedly become primary caregivers for a family member in need. Unable to return to school, isolated from her peers, Lise was confined to living at home with 24- hour care.
Karen quickly realized there was a lack of non-medical rehabilitative services, such as support groups and therapeutic classes, to help them successfully transition into their new roles and to help Lise continue to heal. Frustrated by the lack of services and finding little support for brain injury survivors and their caregivers, Karen formed Marin Brain Injury Network (MBIN) in 1985.
You might just call it Karen’s “dream come true.” With Lise as her inspiration, she devoted her time and energy to making life better for people in our community with a brain injury. Paige, Karen’s youngest daughter says, “My mother dreamed the organization into existence with quiet relentless determination.”
Today, over 30 years later, MBIN, now called Schurig Center for Brain Injury Recovery, has grown to be a trusted ‘hub’ of diverse, specialized services for survivors and their families. Additionally, the organization is a respected resource for medical professionals and the community at large.
Operating with a limited annual budget of approximately $700,000 and a small team of dedicated professionals, the organization impacts over 3,000 people each year. Survivors, caregivers, professionals, and community members are served through on-site programs, resource referral assistance, concussion education (concussionmarin.org), and educational presentations. Originally we served primarily traumatic brain injury survivors – today over 30% of our participants are stroke survivors and their families.