BrainLove campaign hoping to raise awareness of ‘a silent injury’

Saskatchewan Royal Purple Association members, along with Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association Executive Director Glenda James, pose with a $100,000 cheque. That's how much the Royal Purple has donated to the cause since 2014. (Elaine Perkins/Submitted)

The Saskatchewan Royal Purple Association is celebrating the launch of the national BrainLove campaign.

BrainLove is a partnership between Royal Purple and Brain Injury Associations across Canada. Since 2014 in the province, the Royal Purple has brought in a total of $100,000 for the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association (SBIA).

The money goes towards assisting people with brain injuries, as well as education and prevention programs.

According to the campaign’s website, one person in the country acquires a brain injury every three minutes. Approximately 1.5 million Canadians are living with one.

The injuries are most commonly caused by falls and motor vehicle accidents. They can be prevented by wearing protective head gear while playing sports and ensuring tripping hazards are cleared from your home, for example.

Saskatchewan Royal Purple Association President Elaine Perkins—who lives in Shellbrook—said the campaign is important to spread the word on how important it is to take care of your brain.

“It’s a silent injury. You can see a broken arm; you can see a broken leg; you can see all those kinds of things, but you cannot see a brain injury,” she said.

“I’m thinking of two or three that we have as members…the stories they tell, I mean, they’re limited to what they can do and yet for you or I to look at them, you wouldn’t think anything was wrong.”

Perkins has personal connections to the topic.

Although he was wearing a helmet, Perkins’ 27-year-old grandson was only 16 years old when he acquired a brain injury from a snowmobile accident. He now lives in a Shellbrook care home.

“It’s been hard, really hard for the family,” she said.

Although the campaign runs throughout the month of March, the Saskatchewan Royal Purple hosts fundraising events throughout the year with the proceeds going towards the SBIA.

“While March is the kickoff, this month is only the first of a series of BrainLove events including a quilt retreat at the end of March, a golf tournament in June, a celebration in November and Sterling Curling in January. All these events and many local events all combine to make BrainLove a year round happening,” said Sandi Lougheed, chair of the Saskatchewan Royal Purple’s Charity Partnership Committee.

This year, the BrainLove campaign saw two major expansions.

Twenty-three Bootlegger stores in Canada, including all in Saskatchewan, are involved in this year’s campaign. By making a donation at a participating store, you’re entered to win a prize.

Additionally, this is the first year for the ‘Healthy Choices for Your Brain’ interprovincial poster contest, where the winners will move on to compete with students in Manitoba.

The Saskatchewan Royal Purple contributes to several charities, said Perkins, but mainly support the SBIA.

“It is growing,” she said, explaining that Manitoba and Alberta clubs are partnering with the province’s Brain Injury Associations, too.

“To see that big cheque today (with) $100,000 on it, we’re all pretty pumped.”

The province’s Royal Purple held a campaign kickoff event at the Prince Albert Inn on Monday morning.

To donate, visit www.brainlove.ca. You can also visit the campaign’s website for more information and statistics on brain injuries.