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A Unique Bond Between Mother and Daughter at CNS

A Unique Bond Between Mother and Daughter at CNS

A Unique Bond Between Mother and Daughter at CNS

“Use it or lose it,” Amy says to her daughter, Sabrina, as a reminder to use her left hand while baking at home. More than 20 years after Sabrina’s brain surgery, the two reflect on their unique experiences at Centre for Neuro Skills and how this journey has shaped their mother-daughter relationship.

When Sabrina was 10 years old, Amy received several calls from her daughter’s school that she was feeling unwell. Amy knew something was wrong. Within three days of hospital tests, Sabrina was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, a cancerous tumor on the right side of her brain, and scheduled for surgery.

Sabrina’s first surgery was successful, and she received a visit from Dr. Mark Ashley, CNS Founder and CEO. Dr. Ashley was in awe at Sabrina’s resilience, but recommended that she begin post-acute neurorehabilitation therapy, nonetheless. “I knew nothing about brain injury when I started at CNS. Little did I know that she would need therapy,” Amy reflects. At the time, Amy had been working as a receptionist at the CNS Los Angeles clinic for just over a year.

Sabrina’s second surgery resulted in slight paralysis on her left side from head-to-toe and behavioral problems. In addition, Sabrina experienced hair loss from chemoradiation. At such a young age, Sabrina faced not only physical challenges, but also psychosocial fears of returning to school. Through neurorehabilitation along with encouragement from her mother and therapists, Sabrina was able to return to school and graduate high school on track with her peers.

CNS patient Sabrina and mother AmySince then, Sabrina has learned how to live independently with her disabilities. She received her associate degree in social work and currently works full-time at her job. In celebration of her 30th birthday, Sabrina solo traveled on a cruise this year – commemorating her life of independence after all the obstacles she faced growing up. Whether it’s baking or spending time with her 5 younger siblings, Sabrina is appreciative of her mother’s reminders to keep using and strengthening her left extremities in her daily activities. 

Amy celebrates her 20th work anniversary at CNS this year and shares her experience with TBI patients and families. Sabrina regularly visits her mother, therapists, and Case Manager Roslyn Hart at CNS. During her visits, Sabrina also discusses her personal experience with brain injury to other patients and their families, hoping that her story inspires hope in young patients. "Any interaction with patients helps their recovery. We're all part of the patient experience," Amy said.