The Children's Institute Blog

Annual Brain Injury Reunion Picnic Unites Patients with Similar Stories

Posted: Aug 22, 2017 by The Children's Institute


Cake at the Brain Injury Reunion Picnic
Mary Carr said the reason she and her son, Michael, keep coming back to special events at The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh, even though Michael is no longer a teenage inpatient, is simple.

“We go in hopes to maybe see other people that have been in the same situation as us,” said Mary, whose son had a traumatic brain injury and was treated at The Children’s Institute nine years ago.

About 60 former brain injury patients and their families joined staff and friends at the Fifth Annual Brain Injury Reunion Picnic on August 12th at The Children’s Institute, taking part in summer fun with some familiar faces. There was good food, face painting for the kids and two former patients, Ivory Heard and Diana Lozinger, spoke at the picnic about their course of care and their lives now.


Kaden Playing Basketball at the BI Picnic 2017Cheryl Kocjancic brought her 13-year-old son Kaden, who was not quite three when he was an inpatient here following a bad car accident in 2006.

“Kaden likes going. It’s like, ‘The picnic’s coming. Wanna go? ‘Yep!’,” Cheryl said. “It’s nice to see the therapists. We’re so appreciative of everybody.”

Social worker Christine O’Brien and Occupational Therapist, Jessica Sattler who organized the event, which is held every two years, – said it’s nice for staff, too. They had support from staff and volunteers including – but not limited to – Katie Hartman, Lauren Seaman, Gina Argenziano, Heather Ufberg, Tess de las Alas, Leslie Paat, Maren Dennison and Shawn O’Brien.

“It’s just such a nice day with patients and families,” Christine said. We had families drive from as far away as Buffalo and all parts of Pennsylvania & Ohio.”

“I love it – that’s what I like about my job, spending time with patients and families, catching up with them, seeing where life has led them,” Christine added. “It was just a perfect day.”

Patient at BI Picnic 2017 with Staff
Patient with Staff Member Jess Sattler at BI Picnic 2017


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