Real Life Stories

Noelle McNeil

Noelle McNeil was living quite the life in her second semester at James Madison University. Young, beautiful, popular, and full of energy, she had tons of friends and all the potential in the world. One day she discovered how life can change in a split second.


Lee Miller

After being involved in a serious motor vehicle accident in which he sustained nerve damage, spinal cord damage, and a brain injury, Lee Miller's doctors said he would never walk again. And for a long time he couldn't. But after taking on a whole new attitude and spending hours upon hours at intense physical and cognitive therapy sessions, Lee said goodbye to his wheelchair for good.
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Barbara Natali

For Barbara Natali of North Bergen, this year's Walk/Cycle is a momentous occasion: It will be the first time she participates without the help of a wheelchair or cane. "I feel so liberated," Barbara said. "It took a lot of hard work and praying to God to get to this point."
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Will Kimberlin

As an active member of the United States Military, Will Kimberlin was used to danger. He trained every day to become a good soldier. He was ready to survive enemy attacks, roadside bombs, and other elements of war. But it wasn't any of these things that caused his brain injury-- it happened in the blink of an eye, when he least expected it.
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Brianne Applegate

Rider University student Brianne Applegate spends a good portion of her days at the University library studying. It's certainly not unusual for a student to be knee-deep in textbooks and notes this time of year, but few have learned to appreciate learning as much as Brianne. After sustaining a brain injury only 10 months ago, this 23-year-old has returned to her studies with an entirely new outlook on life.
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Matthew Schilling

In early November, 2003 at the age of 32, I purchased a new motorcycle that was considerably faster than my previous one. With just a few days of riding experience on it, I decided to take it on a major controlled access highway at about 11p.m.
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Amy Varecha

Amy Varecha is living a whole new life. "I have been born again," the Frenchtown New Jersey resident says, reflecting on how her life has changed since she sustained a brain injury back in 1990. "I've learned to appreciate everything. I don't take anything for granted."
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Anna Nicasio

The largest challenge that Anna Nicasio, of Rahway, NJ, has faced since sustaining a brain injury five years ago has been speech. You might be surprised, then, to learn that this senior’s major at Fairleigh Dickenson University (FDU) is Communications. But, for Anna, wanting to speak and having a lot to say are two very different things.
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