b'QHow have you affected or been affected byMORE ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTORScaregiver advocacy efforts?BOB: I hear from caregivers and survivors that have beenBob Millsap spent over 30 years in the grocery business helped by hearing our story. We are all in this together andand is currently enjoying the opportunity to help families so much can be learned from sharing and allowing ourselvesas a mortgage loan officer, a career shift that certainly to be vulnerable enough to have honest conversations aboutallows for more flexibility in caring for Shelly.our specific situations. Bob was impacted by tragedy at a young age, as he lost his fianc in an accident 30 years ago. In recent years, he began writing a blog about his journey called Ten DONNA: Frankly, it wasnt until I moved to the desertThousand Days, www.tenthousanddays.blog, which has and became aware of the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizonabeen recognized as a top global blog for both widows and (BIAAZ) that I realized that there were organizations thatcaregivers.offered help to caregivers, as well as to survivors. I soonHe has written articles that have been featured in many learned about the BIAAZ, which is amazing and offerspublications, including The Mighty, The Good Men Proj-so much help to both caregivers and survivors. ect, Love What Matters, Thrive Global, and The Elephant I attended my first Rays of Hope Conference (sponsored byProject. the BIAAZ) in May of 2016. It was a whole day of speakers,Bob recently completed the first draft of a book featuring workshops, good food, and meeting many wonderful folks. Ilessons learned from his resiliency journey. He is currently came away from that day completely energized. Ive returnedworking with a publisher on the editing process and hopes every year since and was even invited to speak at the 2019to have it completed fairly soon.Rays of Hope Conference. Bob and Shelly live in Surprise, AZ, and are the proud In the past years, I have become an advocate for both sur- parents of two sons. Dylan is 25 and Taylor is turning 20 in August.vivors of brain injury and their caregivers in a number of ways. In 2014, I created a blog called Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury (survivingtraumaticbraininjury.com), which provides a platform for survivors and caregivers to have aDonna ODonnell Figurski is the author of a memoir, voice by sharing their stories with the world. Later that year,Prisoners without Bars: A Caregivers Tale, an award-I was invited to become a host on the Brain Injury Radiowinning and heart-wrenching love story. She is the Network, and I began my show, called Another Fork in thehost of an international radio show, Another Fork Road. It airs live twice a month on the 1st and 3rd Sundaysin the Road, on the Brain Injury Radio Network at 5:30 pm Pacific Time. Since August 2014, Ive broadcast(http://www.blogtalkradio.com/braininjuryradio); and she is the creator and writer of the award-more than one hundred shows. Each show is also archivedwinning blog, Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury and can be listened to at any time. All my shows are easily(survivingtraumaticbraininjury.com).accessed from my blog. As a brain-injury advocate, Donna is a frequent contributor Q Anything else youd like to share?to both print and online journals and magazines, including TBI Hope Magazine, Lash and Associates Publishing Blog, The Mighty, BrainLine, and Disabled Magazine. She BOB: Helping others is of utmost importance to both Shellyalso pens picture-book manuscripts for children and has and me. Thats the goal in continuing to share our story. Wepublished four childrens stories with Scholastic.want others to see that theres hope and that good can comeDonna claims her greatest accomplishment is being from keeping the proper perspective. caregiver to her husband and high school sweetheart, David, who had a brain injury in 2005. She and David live DONNA: Caregivers, be patient, be persistent, and dontin the Arizona desert.give up! Healing from brain injury is a marathon. You areTo learn more about Donna, please visit her sites:the glue that holds your survivor together. But, always re- survivingtraumaticbraininjury.commember to put on your oxygen mask first and to take caredonnafigurski.comof yourself too. donnaodonnellfigurski.comdonnaodonnellfigurski.wordpress.com11The Noggin | 2020vol 5issue 2'