Brain Injury Anniversaries (Episode 5)

How do we approach brain injury anniversaries? That day can bring up a weird feeling, it can be painful, it can be hard to get through. Each of us will have different experiences with it. Today we will have perspectives from survivors as well as family members. Wherever you are on your journey, my hope is that this episode helps you to know know you’re not alone, and gives you tools and practical tips for dealing with your anniversary. Xo, Cristabelle

You'll hear from:

1) Cristabelle & her mother Cyndie Braden

2) Survivor: Jessica Karnes

3) Couple: David & Gretchen Christenson

4) Mother: Nicole Bingaman

GUIDE: 0:00 - Intro | 0:36 - Cristabelle & Cyndie Braden | 13:03 - Survivor, Jessica Karnes | 24:20 - Couple, David & Gretchen Christenson | 42:07 - Mother, Nicole Bingaman


- Jessica Karnes is a brain injury and chronic illness warrior. She has persevered through multiple head injuries which has impacted her life and her family in a multitude of ways. She has had to learn how to do things over again after each injury, but she never gives up! She studied social work and obtained a bachelor’s degree at Spring Arbor University. She enjoys spending time with her family and watching Disney movies!

- David and Gretchen Christenson are small town South Dakota residents. David is a crop insurance agent, and Gretchen is a teacher. David suffered a TBI in a vehicle versus pedestrian hit and run 8 blocks from their home on November 14, 2009. They now refer to that date as David's "Alive Day" and are thankful for a recovery that many call a miracle. Book:

- Nicole Bingaman became acquainted with TBI in 2012 when her adult son had an accident resulting in a catastrophic traumatic brain injury. She has worked for over 20 years in the human service field, but is most passionate about raising brain injury awareness. Her book, Falling Away from You, was published in 2015. The book was written from the depths of Nicole’s grief. She is a blogger for, and a contributing writer for the Mighty and TBI HOPE magazine. Her story, Love Wins, was featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Kind America. Nicole serves on the Board of Directors for the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania and was named a TBI Hope Hero in 2019. Nicole is a certified yoga instructor, who has been trained with the LoveYourBrain foundation. Book: |

- Cyndie Braden has over 20 years experience teaching and developing educational curriculum, and she holds a Master of Science. After being thrown into the world of brain injury by her daughter’s injury, Cyndie has been passionately learning about brain injury research and finding resources while supporting the brain injury survivors and families. She has been invited to speak at brain injury conferences. She also has advocated with the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania at the State Capitol in Harrisburg and in Washington D.C. and works alongside her daughter Cristabelle to support the community of Hope After Head Injury.



Cristabelle Braden is an award winning singer/songwriter, keynote speaker, writer, and podcast host. After suffering a traumatic brain injury, she began to write music. Since then, she has surpassed medical expectations and thrived in her newfound gift of music; she has come from re-learning daily life tasks in brain injury rehabilitation to setting her feet firmly on the ground as a songwriter, speaker, and artist with a message of hope. Cristabelle has continually persevered through the daily challenges that come with living with a brain injury, and through her setbacks, re-injuries, and struggles, discovered a stronger and clearer voice and message. In 2020 she launched an inspirational and uplifting podcast called Declaration Life. Her journey has inspired her to become a passionate advocate for brain injury, lobbying on a statewide and national level with the Brain Injury Association of America, as well as personally working hard to provide support and encouragement to brain injury survivors and their families through her online community Hope After Head Injury.

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