Celebrating Community the Cowboy Way

In classic Calgary Stampede fashion, the annual ARBI pancake breakfast was bigger and better and sunnier than ever.

By Lissa Miles

ARBI (The Association for the Rehabilitation of the Brain Injured) has been helping people with brain injuries for 36 years. Approximately 250 people attended the breakfast on July 9.

Classic LifeCare sponsored the event for the fourth consecutive year and Britney Didier-Shaw, Regional Leader – Alberta, volunteered at the kids’ corner blowing bubbles and entertaining the young buckaroos in attendance.

“This year, Classic LifeCare sponsored the band,” said a western-clad Britney, while enjoying a plate of pancakes and eggs. “We have a good relationship with ARBI and have a good exchange of information as community partners.”

PHOTO: (Left to Right) Britney Didier-Shaw, Regional Leader - Alberta, Bruce Murray, President of ARBI, and Judy Stawnychko, Executive Director

Classic LifeCare had some connection to ARBI because of Classic’s sister company CONNECT, a brain injury resource with locations in Lake Country near Kelowna and Langley, BC.

Britney’s daughters and even her dog have attended the breakfast in prior years.

“ARBI has a huge volunteer base so this breakfast is for them, for the people and families served by ARBI and for its many community partners.”

Mary Anne Ostapovitch, Program Director with ARBI, has been with the organization for 30 years.

Ostapovitch said ARBI is a community-based program where people with brain injury and stroke can access longer-term rehab with the aim to link back to the community.

“The pancake breakfast, which we’ve held for more than 20 years, is another opportunity for us to gather and thank all of the people involved with ARBI. We’re a very social group and that social component is what many people lose after brain injury.”

She said approximately 75% of ARBI’s volunteers are university students studying in the health field.

“We are impacting that next generation of professionals who will have this perspective to take with them. I think ARBI is amazing and I’m very proud of what we do here.”

Calgary MLA Ken Hehr attended the breakfast and spoke to the crowd.

“ARBI is about caring, sharing and playing within the community assisting people with disabilities who have challenges,” said Ken. “I too have a disability, so I know how important that support is.”

For more information about ARBI, visit www.arbi.ca.