DAY 5 – The People Are the Reason

Heather Garrabrant

Over two million people in the US have aphasia. That’s more people living with aphasia than living with Parkinson’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), or Multiple Sclerosis, yet about 85% of people in the US do not know what aphasia is. About one third of strokes result in aphasia. The average age of TAP clients is 47. These statistics are eye opening. But statistics aren’t the reason I am passionate about Triangle Aphasia Project. The people are the reason.

TAP clients send each other birthday cards, visit each other if someone is in the hospital, work hard to raise funds and awareness of aphasia, work very hard to participate in their lives and communities while having aphasia, and TAP clients give smiles and hugs generously. TAP staff, volunteers and group leaders share group activity ideas, cover for one another when schedule conflicts or illness occur, and support each other and the clients and their families in so many ways. The people are the reason I love TAP.

I began working for TAP in 2009 before the Cary office opened. I was thrilled when Maura asked me to lead an Aphasia Day at Marsh Creek Park, and a TAP gathering at the IHOP in Cary another week. Working for an organization dedicated to the Life Participation Approach to Aphasia (LPAA) is a dream job for me as a speech-language pathologist. Currently I lead the Clayton Aphasia Group, help lead the WakeMed Aphasia Group and Book Club, and serve on the TAP Development Committee. I enjoy substituting for other group leaders when possible to enjoy the dynamics of other groups and meet more of the amazing TAP clients and their families.

When I am not working with TAP, you might find me running on the greenway, hanging out with my family, watching sports, reading, or traveling. I’ve always loved this quotation from Arthur Ashe, and feel it applies well to TAP: “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.”