From Surviving to Thriving: Brain Injury Survivor Turned Passionate Advocate

In Honor of March as Brain Injury Awareness Month, Maria Ross Shares Her Humorous and Heartwarming Story to Help Others

This month is Brain Injury Awareness Month. A brain injury can happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone. Brain injuries do not discriminate. Did you know that 2.4 million people sustain brain injuries in the U.S. each year? An injury that happens in an instant can bring a lifetime of physical, cognitive, and behavioral challenges. Early, equal, and adequate access to care will greatly increase overall quality of life.

So what happens when a vivacious young woman is struck down by a brain aneurysm and her husband finds her, collapsed and unconscious, on the floor? She makes an amazing recovery, struggles with her new sense of self, and gets back in the game to write a book about her experience to help others.

In 2008, Maria Ross was not someone who expected to be one of those statistics. A 35-year old successful consultant, business owner and actress, she learned first-hand that brain injuries can happen to anyone when she suffered a near-fatal subarachnoid hemorrhage from a ruptured aneurysm. After emergency surgery and an induced coma, she spent long months in the hospital and in-patient and outpatient rehab and therapy. The medical care she received, along with the support of her family and friends, contributed to her ability to not only survive, but to thrive after her brain injury.

Evolving from brain injury survivor to patient advocate, Maria is now a passionate inspirational speaker and patient advocate for brain injury awareness, in addition to publishing a memoir, Rebooting My Brain: How a Freak Aneurysm Reframed My Life about her experience. "Once I made my miraculous comeback, I knew I had to help educate and advocate on behalf of others who were not as lucky. I had to be their voice. I've written to be that voice."

Maria has appeared on ABC News, NPR, talk radio and speaks at healthcare conferences across the country to give health providers a sense of what the experience is like for their patients. Maria has also served as a Patient Advisor to the University of Washington Medical Center's Patient and Family Education Committee. Maria is currently a board member for the Brain Injury Network of the Bay Area.

The book has been an Amazon best-seller and Maria has donated profits along the way to organizations such as The Brain Aneurysm Foundation, Joe Niekro Foundation and the Brain Injury Network of the Bay Area. But the most meaningful feedback is from survivors and caregivers. Here are just a few:

"A year ago my wife suffered a SAH. Reading the book just confirmed everything that happened to her. Great book - only wish it had been available a year ago."

"I have been the caregiver to my husband who suffered a traumatic brain injury. … It was as if Maria was peering into the window of my life. She gave me so much insight into what is going on inside my husband's head, what he's feeling and thinking. I now understand him so much better than I did before. If you do know someone with a brain injury then I consider this book a must-read."

"This book is very helpful for anyone who has experienced an aneurysm rupture or has had to live through a loved one going through it. I learned a lot about my own experience as well as what my loved ones went through."

She continues to thrive and enjoy life every day. Maria lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband Paul and their Black Lab mix, Eddie. They are anticipating another addition to their family with the arrival of their first child in May.

About Maria Ross

Maria Ross is a brand strategist, author and speaker. She is creator of Red Slice, a branding consultancy for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Ross has written two books: Branding Basics for Small Business, which received praise from marketing experts and best-selling authors; and Rebooting My Brain, her humorous and heartwarming memoir about surviving a near-fatal brain injury. She has written for San Francisco Downtown, IntoWine.com, Sharp Skirts, American Express Open Forum and Seattle Business. Ross is a dynamic business and inspirational speaker and has been featured in numerous press outlets, including Entrepreneur, MSNBC, ABCNews.com and NPR and she currently writes for The Huffington Post. Visit www.red-slice.com to learn more.

About Rebooting My Brain: How a Freak Aneurysm Reframed My Life by Maria Ross

The book is currently available in digital form via Amazon.com. The print soft cover version, published by Red Slice Press and distributed by Ingram Book Group, is available through Amazon.com, other major online booksellers and by request at any bookseller. Book retailers can order the book upon request. To download free sample chapters or find out where to buy the book, visit www.rebootingmybrain.com