People whose lives have been altered by traumatic brain injury (TBI) may find plenty of technical information online about these elusive injuries and the various symptoms they may cause, but it’s much more difficult to forge connections with others who are coping with similar situations and experiences. That is why the family of one TBI survivor started TryMunity, a website dedicated to helping TBI sufferers, their families, and other supporters connect and share “stories, ideas, suggestions, and words of encouragement.”
TryMunity is the first and currently the only online social community for TBI sufferers and others whose lives are in some way shaped by these injuries. The website was started by the family of Mike Black, who sustained a TBI on May 21, 2011, when he was thrown from his vehicle in a traffic accident and landed on his head. Doctors gave Mr. Black a grim prognosis and believed he would never recover.
It was then that Mr. Black’s family sought answers from other people whose lives had been shaken by TBI. They turned to the internet, only to find there weren’t any websites dedicated to sharing TBI experiences and forging personal connections with others.
Mr. Black’s family started a Facebook page to document Mike’s recovery and to share his journey and progress with others. Gradually more and more Facebook users found the page and used it to share their own stories.
Mr. Black’s journey to recovery hit a serious roadblock when his health insurance ran out. Faced with no longer being able to receive treatment as he was making giant strides in his recovery, Mr. Black was accepted into the Pate Rehabilitation scholarship program located in Anna, Texas. The program allowed Mr. Black to continue his long recovery, relearning how to eat, walk and speak.
That’s when he started looking for others online with whom he could discuss his experiences. TryMunity was born out of the absence of a single online community for TBI survivors and their supporters to reach out to one another.
According to Trymunity, “Today, Mike and his family continue to spread their message of hope and support to all survivors and their families. TryMunity’s motto is, ‘You never fail until you stop TRYing,’ and Mike and his family encourage all visitors to TryMunity to live by this motto each and every day.”
TryMunity is a nonprofit organization and membership is free. The social networking section of the website has a similar interface as Facebook, making it easy and somewhat familiar to navigate for those who use Facebook.
Every year, nearly 1.7 million people in the U.S. receive some form of traumatic brain injury. More than 5 million Americans are living with disabilities stemming from TBI.