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Art display in Bettendorf gives glimpse into life with a brain injury

BETTENDORF, Iowa -- During Brain Injury Awareness Month, a traveling art display was set up at a rehabilitation facility.

The "Unmasking Brain Injury" pop-up art exhibit showcases 54 paper mache masks painted by brain injury survivors from across Iowa.

The display was put together by the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa.  Several survivors in various rehab programs across the state were invited to take part.

Two local survivors, Amy Day and Jim Campbell submitted artwork.  They are in the Learning Independence for Tomorrow (LIFT) Program at Genesis.  LIFT is an outpatient program that's focused on providing daily programs for adults recovering from brain injuries.

Day, who suffered from a stroke in the fall of 2017, said her mask was inspired by the emotions she feels day to day.

"I put "Alive" on it because that's what I am right now and that's how I feel," she said.  Her mask was a teal blue color and had colorful pom poms on top to represent hair.

"I had to shave my head because of my stroke and that's what we said my hair should look like now," she added.

In late 2016, Jim Campbell said he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  He said it was his wife who first noticed something was amiss.

"I was a house husband basically, I took care of everything in the home," he said. "I was just doing what I usually do and it was getting out of control. (My wife) came home (and said), "What's going on?" supper was looking real bad."

He underwent a surgery to remove most of the tumor but then suffered a stroke.  Campbell said that today he is thankful for his wife, children, and medical staff for helping him get through his recovery.

Both Day and Campbell offered words of encouragement to others recovering from a brain injury.

"You can get through this," said Day. "You've got to get help first."

"Remain hopeful and keeping working on it," said Campbell. "It's a marathon, it doesn't happen overnight - the recovery."

The display was put up Monday, March 19th in the lobby of Genesis Physical Therapy and Wellness at 4017 Devils Glen Road.  It was set to be up until Friday, April 6th.

Genesis Physical Therapy and Wellness