All I Want for Xmas... is a Healthy Brain

From Graduation to Concussion 

Three years ago my life changed drastically. Those close to me know that 2016 was a year spent in shock and grief. That January, my boyfriend Chico passed away in a car crash during our vacation in Tulum, Mexico. After having spent one week in Tulum trying to deal with the horrifying task of repatriating him back to the US, I returned to NYC a shadow of myself. I did not have much time to grieve this loss as my Master's program in Nonprofit Management at New York University continued and was back in class but a few days after his funeral. As the year progressed I started showing signs of PTSD: panic attacks and anxiety. My stress became so bad that by October I had fallen into a deep depression. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that I would graduate in December. I kept telling myself, next year everything will get better.

December 22, 2016 marked the deadline and completion of my final assignment. Exhausted, depleted, but ecstatic to graduate,  I would now be able to finally focus on myself.  I looked into the mirror and cried: I couldn't believe I had made it. That night I fell into a deep sleep. 

Two hours later I suddenly awoke to a friend coming into my room. He had a terrifying open head wound and asked me if I could take him to the hospital. Disoriented and groggy I got up to get dressed, however I immediately fainted and collapsed hitting my head against the wall. The following weeks were spent in a dark room with my eyes closed, head spinning, and cognitively confused.

Hello Amsterdam, Goodbye New York City 

My recovery seemed to be going fine until nine months later in 2017 when I got hired by Terre des Hommes, a global children's rights organization based in the Netherlands. At this point, my symptoms were almost unbearable: memory loss, headaches, exhaustion, insomnia, and constant stress among others. Each night on my train ride home I would silently cry and wish for the weekend to come. Six months later I was forced to quit Completely burnt out, my energy levels were so low I'd spend days in bed without leaving the house. 

Fast-forward to 2019. My subsequent treatments by several psychologists, doctors, coaches, and rehabilitation centers  have left me feeling hopeless as no one . I live at my mother's house who is practically my caregiver and I volunteer 2 days (5 hrs/day) a week at the Amsterdam Food Bank, after which I come home exhausted. I suffer from post-concussion syndrome. This means I suffer from symptoms that prevent me from living a healthy, normal life. A life I want so desperately. 

- Brain fog 
After reading (or other cognitive activity) for 1 hour my brain enters a 'foggy space', it shuts down.  It's like my head is filled with cotton. 
- Memory loss
"So, I am not sure if I have said this before..."  Pen and paper have become my best friends, without my notes I am lost!
- Abnormal exhaustion
By 5PM I am exhausted. From any 'normal activity' I have to recover. 

I cannot work, I cannot go out, I cannot undertake many activities without crashing after... 

Evelyn, 31 yrs old, female, brain damage 

December 2019.  A MRI-scan shows two white spots in my brain - damaged nerve tissue and a micro-bleeding - both resulting from a blow to the head. The neurologist calmly explains I have permanent brain damage and that I have exhausted all treatment options in the Netherlands. It leaves me speechless. 

Solution: the Miracle Clinic in Utah

In 2019 the Dutch newspapers begin to be flooded with stories about a neuro clinic called Cognitive FX in Utah (America!) specialized in curing, not just treating, people with post-concussion syndrome.  Their treatment program is radically different from the approach used in the Netherlands and is focused on the reactivation of damaged nerve cells, called neurovascular coupling. During an intense treatment week of cognitive training and physical and mental tasks under supervision of neurologists and a multidisciplinary team of trainers and therapists, patients work towards their recovery. A fMRI-scan taken before and after treatment indicates improved brain function. They've helped many athletes, including NFL players. 

Click to see Treatment at Cognitive FX Clinic

Hundreds of joyous Dutch patients have returned to the Netherlands claiming to be fully or partially recovered. Please, help me become one of them. 

I'm asking for your help as I cannot afford the treatment that is planned for February 2020. A breakdown of the expected expenses is: 

Treatment - $9900 - $11500 (depending on aftercare) 
Flight - $800

Accommodation three weeks - $3000

Total - $15.300 (or € 13.750)  

I am asking €11.000 as my close family will be contributing some as well. 

It would mean the world to me if you could help me cover some of the treatment costs and donate. All small bits help and are so much appreciated. Even if you cannot help financially, sharing this page can help me come closer to reaching my goal. 

My gratitude is endless. Thank you so much. 

Much love, 

PS. For those who prefer to donate directly to my bank account, this is NL39 INGB 0656059206


  • Hans Kok 
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  • Grismer Canales 
    • €100 
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  • Loïs Dols de Jong 
    • €10 
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  • Lian Van Hout 
    • €20 
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Eveline Wong 
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