Summerside woman to start brain injury support group

Vicki Homes stands with her husband, Dan, and their dog Monty outside their house in Summerside. Homes suffered a traumatic brain injury over four years ago, now she wants to start a support group for people with similar experiences. Millicent McKay photo.


Oct. 5, 2016

Vicki Homes is lost.

At least that’s how she has felt since one early morning in 2012.

She was on her way to work. The sun was just starting to rise, when she got hurt.

“I don’t know if I tripped or slipped, but instead of just falling over I propelled forward 15 feet and crashed head on into my car.”

From there, Homes hit her head two more times.

“I must have turned, I’m not sure, you don’t know what you’re doing when you’re going that fast, but I smashed my shoulder in four places.”

She knocked the ball joint out of its socket and flipped it.

“It looked like a bomb went off,” her surgeon told her at the hospital.

Visibly, Homes had a laceration on her head and an immobilized shoulder, but what she didn’t know was that she had suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

“My brain shook from front to back, side to side and then front to back again.”

It was about two weeks later when she realized something was wrong.

“I was having terrible pains in my leg and had gone for a doppler ultrasound, but when I tried telling my friend that I said I was having a bipolar ultrasound, and I knew it wasn’t right.”

That was the beginning of symptoms including vertigo, memory loss, panic attacks, trouble focusing and mixing up words that started with the same letter.

The worst result was the former minister at the Summerside Presbyterian Church had to give up her passion.

“It was the end of my career, and that’s the saddest thing I’ve ever had to go through.

“I was a full-time clergy, an on-call chaplin I ran a divorce care group. I was active and sharp and then all of sudden I wasn’t.

“Brain injuries aren’t always a visible thing. You don’t need to have your head split open to have a brain injury. That’s something I want people to know.”

For some time, Homes has been considering starting a support group for people in the Prince County area and recently she felt it was time to take that step.

“I still can’t go to church, but I know I’ll get there. I know this because I know that this is the right time to start this group.”

The group will meet the third Friday of every month at the Summerside Presbyterian Church from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“In order to understand what a TBI is like, you have to go through it. And I’ve come to the point where this will be a passion for me.”

Homes wants to create a safe space for people with a common experience to come together.

“I hope out of this group comes the invitation for other organizations to get involved in the discussion.

“We’ll provide an environment where people facing the same challenges can have an open conversation. I want to help people move forward.”