I am a caregiver – now, today and forever.

On Thursday, June 4, 2015 guests at the Ability & Beyond Dinner presented by Bell will be inspired by Captain Mark Kelly’s “Endeavour to Succeed” keynote address.

Captain Mark Kelly is an American astronaut, who flew missions aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, the Space Shuttle Discovery, and is one of only two individuals who has visited the International Space Station on four different occasions. He is also a retired US Navy Captain, bestselling author, prostate cancer survivor, and an experienced naval aviator. Named one of Esquire’s 2011 Americans of the Year, Kelly exemplifies leadership, the importance of teamwork, and courage under pressure.

Captain Kelly and wife Gabrielle Giffords
Captain Kelly and wife Gabrielle Giffords

Captain Kelly will speak about his incredible life and his personal experience caregiving for his wife, former US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, during her recovery from a traumatic brain injury, the result of an assassination attempt in 2011.

Captain Kelly will share stories designed to inspire and help people find their purpose. He says he has learned valuable lessons from his experiences flying in combat, his space missions and more personally, when his wife was shot and his world changed forever. He became Ms. Gifford’s primary caregiver during her recovery from her brain injury, which also resulted in aphasia. He continues this role today, and cherishes it.  He will speak of his life as a caregiver, and how living with aphasia affects the whole family.

Approximately 1/3 of brain injury survivors will have aphasia. The condition causes communication challenges, but is not a sign of reduced intelligence. Understanding aphasia is crucial to helping improve communication not only for brain injury survivors, but also their caregivers, loved ones and families.

March of Dimes Canada provides services for people with aphasia through a number of programs, camps and support groups. All of these are crucial to helping alleviate the isolation and depression that can occur when first learning to live with the condition.

Captain Kelly is thrilled to be sharing his life lessons with guests at a fundraiser supporting March of Dimes Canada’s Aphasia and Communication Disability Program (ACDP).  His wife lives with the condition, and weekly visits an aphasia communication group, similar to those offered by the program.

“I am very excited to be coming to Toronto and sharing a bit of my story with March of Dimes clients and supporters,” says Captain Kelly. “I hope that guests will leave feeling empowered and learning a little about the power of the human spirit, to recover and to overcome.”

For tickets and more information, click here.

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