Madison's Post-Concussion Syndrome Rehabilitation

In January 2019, Madison had a serious snowboarding accident in Bolton, Vermont that caused major concussion, neck injuries, and trauma. She is a careful, helmet-wearing snowboarder, and what happened was completely unpredictable and unfortunate. This was one of many debilitating injuries to come; in the months that followed Madison suffered three more diagnosed concussions at home, out, and at work. Each had a cumulative impact on her mental capacities, producing new symptoms in addition to constant underlying pain. This is common in those that suffer brain trauma, as their balance and other senses become compromised, and recurring injuries are a very real danger. She now suffers from physical, mental, and emotional symptoms that deny her ability to live a normal, productive life at 25 years old. In the medical world, she is diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome. This entails and is defined by a multitude of lingering and prolonged symptoms of concussion long after injury. She deals daily with excruciating physical pain due to her injuries, relentless neurological issues, as well as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and emotional distress.

With each subsequent brain injury, Madison has been fighting an absolute war with her own body. To family, friends, customers at her job, and people she seldom sees, she looks “fine” on the outside. She can walk and talk, but has had to push herself to keep working out of necessity. She is in constant pain and spends most of her day bedridden, practicing brain rest due to unmanageable neurological symptoms. Throughout her time trying to find treatments that help, she has gotten progressively worse. 

Madison has frequented the ER for brain imaging (CT scan and MRI) for numbness, dizziness, and other inexplicable symptoms, and is currently attending multiple difficult therapies and treatment programs daily. These include seeing conventional doctors, specialists in neurology, naturopathy, mental health practioners, reiki, craniosacral therapy, acupuncture, laser therapy, and chiropractic alignment in efforts to find relief. Despite having a wonderful, solid team of professionals to support her in alternative therapies and symptom management, she has experienced incredible frustration finding experts that are specifically knowledgeable about Post-Concussion syndrome that can navigate her case and help her move forward.

Madison recently traveled to California to participate in a brain rehabilitation program, headed by Dr. Titus Chiu, a functional medicine practitioner and functional neurologist. Applicants are only accepted into this program if they have extensive needs and meet certain requirements. Since her options were dwindling in Vermont, she went despite its enormous cost. After months of therapies covered by insurance (co-pays add up too at the number of appointments she attends) and alternative therapies that were paid out-of-pocket, she had no savings to pay for the program which cost $7,000 and did not include travel or accommodations, adding on another $2,000. Working with Dr. Chiu has been pivotal in her journey, as he picked up on many issues regarding her brain and general health that had previously gone undiagnosed. Since returning home, Madison has seen the first real improvements in her condition since January of last year, and continues to follow the treatment protocol given to her at the program. Understandably, Madison has had to be out of work on and off due to her illness. She works in the restaurant/service industry, which unfortunately does not offer sick time or paid time off. Madison is currently unable to work more than 1-2 days per week. Feeling frustrated and defeated, all year she has continued to take all the shifts she could manage when she should be resting and healing.

Madison’s friends and family have seen the devastating impact multiple traumatic brain injuries have had on her. She is mentally, emotionally, and physically very different than the person she was before her initial accident. She no longer sings and laughs, has completely withdrawn from doing the things she loves and seeing people she cares about, and is terrified to travel or participate in hobbies she enjoys for fear of exposing herself to more injuries. She can’t think about her future beyond how she will financially and literally carry herself into next week.

We are reaching out to help Madison finance her treatments and living expenses now and throughout the winter while she takes time to heal. Madison has been overwhelmed trying to keep up with living expenses, let alone the cost of the program in California. She has not wanted financial help during this time, as she is fiercely independent, so we are reaching out for her. Anyone who knows Madison personally knows how ambitious and driven she has been from a young age, and that this is the last thing she would ask of anyone. We trust that she can bounce back from this if she is given the time she needs to recuperate without the financial burden weighing on her. We thank you for any amount of money you can contribute, no matter how small. Madison hopes that when she regains her health, she can give support and raise awareness to the community of people also suffering from this.

Here are links to information about the program she attended, as well as about Dr. Chiu. Madison highly recommends working with this doctor for anyone dealing with the aftermath of similar injuries.

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  • Gary Benjamin 
    • $200 
    • 9 d
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    • $25 
    • 21 d
  • Jamie Moorby 
    • $100 
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  • James Blankenship 
    • $500 
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    • $54 
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Organizer and beneficiary

Chelsea Jerome 
Woodbury, VT
Madison Holmes 
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