Brain Boogie comes to Prince Albert doorsteps

Sask. Brain Injury Association joining forces with Saskatoon singer to raise funds for survivors support

Kyla Grace, a 17-year-old recording artist from Saskatoon, poses with an autographed photo after her last doorstep concert as part of the Brain Boogie in Prince Albert on Aug. 14, 2020. Grace gave each Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association member one of these photos. (Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald)

A young Saskatoon singer has partnered with the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association (SBIA) to lift the spirits of survivors across the province. On Friday, they stopped in Prince Albert.

Kyla Grace, 17, is travelling with the SBIA for its 18th annual Brain Boogie, which looks a bit different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of gathering at the Prince Albert Elks Lodge for the yearly walk to raise funds, Grace played music at nine different locations for members.

“I’ve been singing since I could talk,” said Grace after her last performance.

“I’ve written three singles right now and I’m planning on writing more this upcoming fall. I would really like to go to school for singing or acting.”

For her first single, ‘Saved,’ Grace travelled to New York to film a music video. While Grace is helping to raise funds for brain injury survivors, she’s also promoting her latest single ‘Young & Free.’

The public is invited to visit the SBIA’s YouTube channel to learn choreography to the song, or you can make up your own, and share a video on Facebook with the hashtags #GetYourBoogieOn and #BrainBoogie2020 to encourage others to get involved.

Participants can register at the SBIA’s website and either pay a fee or fundraise. You decide how and when you want to participate. Whether you “drum for donations” or “cha cha for charity,” said a news release, the goal is to get moving while raising awareness.

Kyla Grace performs her latest single ‘Young & Free’ as part of the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association’s Brain Boogie in Prince Albert on Aug. 14, 2020. (Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald)

“I feel quite tearful today because I haven’t seen anybody since COVID hit,” said SBIA Events and Volunteer Coordinator Tracey Monette.

“It was my first time seeing a lot of the members. All of them were very cheerful, they couldn’t wait to sing and listen to the music. It was really heartwarming.”

Grace explained that she got involved with the Brain Boogie because she works with Monette’s son. Their parents are also close friends.

“I work with Tracey’s son, Cole, and we were talking one day and I mentioned something about my single and then he must have talked to his mom,” said Grace.

“She reached out to me and just said ‘Hey, do you want to do this?’ And I’m like ‘Yes, I really, really do.’ I thought it was a great thing.”

Cole Monette and Kyla Grace put on a doorstep concert to raise awareness and funds for brain injuries in Prince Albert on Aug. 14, 2020. (Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald)

After the performances, members were gifted an autographed photo of Grace and a Brain Boogie T-shirt they normally would have received at the walk.

Grace, Monette and other brain injury advocates are doing doorstep concerts in different cities throughout the month of August. They’ve already stopped in Saskatoon on Wednesday and Prince Albert on Friday, and will be heading to Regina the morning of Aug. 19 and Moose Jaw in the afternoon, then back in Saskatoon on Aug. 20.

Monette said the SBIA received funding for volunteers in Saskatoon to travel to Prince Albert and bring members care packages, notes, plants and other gifts throughout the pandemic.

“A lot of our members were already very isolated before COVID hit, and now they’re extremely isolated. So we thought wouldn’t it be nice to actually bring the Brain Boogie to them and partner with Kyla and get them a little bit of music,” she said.

On average, said Monette, the annual Prince Albert Brain Boogie raises about $10,000 — that money funds programs and events that support brain injury survivors and their families, along with education and awareness campaigns.

Although Monette anticipates less money will be coming in this year, her goal was less about the funds.

“It will be down, but you know what, I think we’re just wanting to lift spirits this year,” she said.

And Grace agreed, saying “It’s really nice to just go around making people smile.”

According to the SBIA, brain injuries are the number one cause of death and disability for people under the age of 44, including children. Automobile accidents are the leading cause of acquired brain injury in Saskatchewan, but can also be caused by falls, cycling accidents, strokes, tumours and aneurysms.

There are no drugs or techniques that can cure a brain injury. Prevention measures include wearing a helmet, buckling up in the car and removing tripping hazards.