FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Hundreds of people came together Sunday to raise awareness for brain injuries, including Alexis Fairchild. The Huntington teen was involved in a horrific parasailing crash in Florida last summer. On Monday, she sat down with NewsChannel 15 for an exclusive interview about her recovery. Part of that recovery includes work with the brain injury support group in Northeast Indiana.
The Fairchilds got involved with the group shortly after Alexis’ accident, and said the group has been instrumental in helping them move forward.
The second annual Bowling for Brain Injury event was held at Westwood Lanes. This national event is the signature fundraising event for the Brain Injury Association of America. Last year, Fort Wayne was the top Bowling for Brain Injury site in the country, raising $24,000. Sunday, the group topped that total, raising $28,000.
Even a gutter ball couldn’t take away the joy at Sunday’s event. From funny nicknames to crazy costumes, nothing was off limits at the fundraiser. More than 200 survivors and their families spent the afternoon getting strikes and spares for a cause.
“To bring awareness to something, where people have a place to go…A lot of people don’t understand a brain injury and what they go through. The people there, they help guide you. They tell you what to expect. You realize that you’re not the only one with a different child now,” said Alexis’ mother, Angie Fairchild.
It’s been more than eight months since Alexis Fairchild’s parasailing accident, and life today is very different than before. Every year, more than 30,000 Hoosiers experience a brain injury. Alexis Fairchild is one of the thousands of people choosing to not let their accident define them.
“When it comes down to it, mentally, I’m not the same, and I know that, but talking with these people, it becomes different, it becomes okay,” said Fairchild.
The group gets together monthly and offers support groups for both the survivors and their families.
“We met so many wonderful people that could direct us, too. It’s been wonderful as far as the help we’ve gotten. They’re like an extended family. They have guided us through so much. Without them, we wouldn’t be here where we’re at today,” said Alexis’ parents, Mike and Angie Fairchild.
Alexis Fairchild said she looks at the group as rolemodels.
“Honestly, they’re my mentors. The people that have had a brain injury for a really long time have coached me through how to deal with everything that’s happened. I’ve made the best of friends there,” said Alexis Fairchild.