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Home News Royal Purple begins nation-wide Brain Love campaign in Prince Albert

Royal Purple begins nation-wide Brain Love campaign in Prince Albert

Royal Purple begins nation-wide Brain Love campaign in Prince Albert
Royal Purple national president Sandi Lougheed (left), Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association vice-president Darlene May (centre), and executive director Glenda James (right) cut the ribbon to officially being the 2023 Brain Love campaign. Saskatchewan Royal Purple members have made it their goal to pass the $200,000 fundraising mark by the end of this year. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

COVID-19 hasn’t slowed down the Saskatchewan Royal Purple. In fact, it’s only made them more committed.

Royal Purple members from across the province were in Prince Albert on Wednesday to kick off a nation-wide blitz designed to raise awareness about brain injuries. “Brain Love” became the Royal Purple cause last year, and since then, campaign has raised nearly $200,000 in Saskatchewan alone.

On Wednesday, Royal Purple members vowed to cross the $200,000 fundraising mark by the end of the year using methods honed during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Really and truly, COVID didn’t slow us down as an organization,” national Royal Purple president Sandi Lougheed said following the kickoff at the Prince Albert Inn. “For lots of volunteer organizations, the story is we’re losing members … and that’s not the story for us. We changed how we raised money. We went to virtual projects and virtual raffles, but we didn’t stop, and that’s just really been important.”

As part of Brain Love Month, Royal Purple lodges across Canada will engage with media and raise funds for provincial brain injury associations. Glenda James, the executive director of the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association (SBIA) said they need all the funds they can get, since so many people with brain injuries don’t have the necessary support.

“The support system is not adequate,” James said. “After you get that medical discharge, that’s where it falls apart. It’s not properly funded. The burden lands on the family, and that’s not fair.”

James said there’s been an “explosion in information” about the impact of brain injuries over the past decade. That’s helped in diagnosing and preventing brain injuries, however, the treatment side of things is still lacking.

James said private profit-based businesses have jumped in to fill the gap in support services. She doesn’t knock those efforts, but said they aren’t enough by themselves.

“We’ve started taking into consideration what even going out to have a good time means to these families,” she explained. “I don’t think the general public understands how a brain injury affects the lives of the people around the person.”

Royal Purple members like Lougheed say the public’s knowledge of brain injuries has come a long way. However, she also says there’s still a long way to go.

“We’re probably at the stage of when we first started to learn that smoking wasn’t the thing to do,” she said. “Kids are more aware that they should wear helmets, for example. Now, do they keep them on all the time? No, unfortunately, but they are at least aware that the helmet is important…. Brain injuries may continue, but the amount of damage that they do can be lessened.”

Local Prince Albert area supports of the Brain Love campaign are some of the strongest in Canada, but that’s because they got it off the ground.

Shellbrook’s Elaine Perkins was among the first to get the Royal Purple involved in Brain Love. She did it because of her grandson, who was diagnosed with a brain injury following a snowmobile accident when he was 16.

“It was a pretty hard one,” Perkins remembered.

“When it happened, there was no advertising or awareness at all about brain injuries. There was heart and there was stroke and there was cancer and there was Alzheimer’s, but nothing on brain injuries and I couldn’t believe it. I thought, ‘we need something,’ never thinking it would go nationally.”

Perkins said their fundraising efforts have been a success because everyone knows somebody who has suffered a brain injury, and that makes the cause easy to relate to. She added that the commitment from the Royal Purple hasn’t surprised her.

“We act fast,” said Perkins, who has been a Royal Purple member for more than 50 years. “When we say we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it.”

The Canadian Royal Purple Association adopted BrainLove as its national cause at its 2022 convention and expanded a campaign of partnering with brain injury associations across Canada as well as a relationship with the Toronto-based group, WomenatthecentrE.

As part of the campaign Bootlegger store locations across Canada will collect donations for the campaign.