In June of 1999, Carole Starr was 32 years old, and living a busy life in her home state of Maine. She was building a career as an educator and spent much of her free time playing the violin in a community orchestra and singing soprano in a chorale. She loved to travel and enjoyed spending time with her family and friends.
That life ended in July of 1999, when Carole sustained a brain injury in a car accident. She struggled to cope with many symptoms, including intense mental fatigue, sound, visual and balance sensitivities, memory loss and executive function challenges.
Due to her injury, Carole had to give up her teaching career and her classical music hobby. She grieved the loss of her old life and her sense of self.
It took Carole many years to accept her brain injury and the new person she became. She’s reinvented herself by focusing on what she can do, one small step at a time.
Carole now delivers inspiring keynote speeches at brain injury conferences. She’s also the founder and facilitator of the survivor volunteer group Brain Injury Voices. She wrote her book, To Root & To Rise: Accepting Brain Injury, to share what she’s learned about coming to terms with an unexpected new life and to help other survivors on their journey.
Through these activities, Carole has found a new way to be a teacher, a way that honors the daily brain injury symptoms she still copes with. Her life is once again full of meaning and purpose. She is happy, even while living with a disability.
To listen to a podcast interview of Carole talking about her brain injury journey, please click here.
Brain Injury Voices is an award-winning survivor education, advocacy and peer mentoring volunteer group in Maine. Carole and her mentor Bev Bryant founded the group in 2010. For more info, please visit the Voices website.