Kevin Pearce, a former professional snowboarder and traumatic brain injury survivor, addressed the Millbrook community in an all-school forum on December 4th.
His address was part of a week-long community effort to remember Ed Allen, honor Tatum Allen, and support the Love Your Brain Foundation and its mission.
Founded by Kevin Pearce
, the Love Your Brain Foundation
is a non-profit organization that works to educate people about brain health and injury and offer a community and assistance program for those who have been affected by brain injury.
While training to trial for the Winter Olympic Games in December of 2009, Kevin attempted a double cork in the halfpipe and sustained a traumatic brain injury. Pearce hit his head against the edge of the halfpipe and was knocked unconscious
. Crash Reel
tells the story of Pearce’s passion for snowboarding and his rehabilitative journey after his traumatic brain injury.
After sharing his story Pearce elaborated on how he has developed a three-pronged approach to brain health through his foundation: mindfulness, movement, and connection.
“One of the most powerful things that Kevin talked about was ANTS, which stands for Automatic Negative Thoughts,” said Head Girls Varsity Hockey Coach Ana Spinella ’06. “He discussed how we all get negative thoughts and the negative chemical impacts that these thoughts can have on our brain and body. He also talked about how social media can perpetuate these thoughts, and how we have a choice to take control and be mindful in those moments,” said Spinella ’06.
Pearce also discussed the importance of physical activity and staying connected with community in supporting brain health.
“I am not what happened to me,” said Pearce of his traumatic brain injury. “I am what I choose to become.”
This phrase is so relevant to Millbrook, as Pearce was invited to address our community as a way to compliment our efforts to make a positive impact on our world in honor of the Allen family. Students worked in collaboration with faculty to partner with other independent schools, including Albany Academy
, to organize multiple hockey games and fundraise for the Love Your Brain cause. Students also sold Love Your Brain t-shirts. Because of these efforts, Millbrook was able to present Kevin Pearce with a monetary donation of over $4,800.00 for the Love Your Brain Foundation.
The festivities and fundraising continued into the following week, as the Millbrook girls varsity hockey team launched a new tradition of playing their first game for the Ed Allen Cup, a bronze trophy shaped like a baseball cap in Mr. Allen's honor. The game was played against longtime rival The Gunnery
, who also raised funds for the Love Your Brain cause. The game will be played between these two teams as a tradition in Mr. Allen's honor moving forward. We are proud of all of our athletes who played strong games during what was an emotional week, and we are grateful for our opponents who partnered with us to support this important mission.
“Kevin Pearce and his foundation have given so much hope to our family, and it meant so much to us to be able to share his story with our community and to be able to give back to his foundation,” said Emily Allen.
The love and strength of the Millbrook community is certainly evident, and we are so grateful.