The roots of ARBI were planted in 1972 when Audrey Morrice uttered four simple words, “I can help you.” She was speaking to her friend Alice Laine’s son Mel as he lay in a comatose state in the hospital. Critically injured by a hit-and-run driver, Mel sustained a severe brain injury. His family was given no hope for his recovery by the medical system. Then Audrey blurted out those now famous words …
Audrey lived up to her promise. She worked tirelessly on Mel’s rehabilitation six hours a day, six days a week for six years. Her creativity, determination and drive helped Mel relearn how to talk, walk, think and write, allowing him to lead a meaningful life once again.
Audrey, Alice and volunteers began helping other brain injury survivors in the basement of the Woodcliff United Church. They founded ARBI in 1978. By 1989, the number of individuals needing services had grown, and ARBI expanded into its current location on Spruce Drive. The ARBI team had also grown to include therapists, front-line staff and more volunteers.
Audrey and Alice received countless awards for their pioneering work in developing community brain injury rehabilitation. In 2004 Audrey received the Order of Canada.
Now a recognized pioneer in community brain injury rehabilitation, ARBI strives to keep Audrey’s promise. Every single day survivors get a second chance at life.