Minnesota nurse recovering from traumatic brain injury gets ready for Walk For Thought

Wednesday marked an important anniversary for a Twin Cities woman. One year ago, nurse Galen Schulz suffered a severe brain injury while working.

Her journey of recovery has been long, but certainly not unique, and she wants people to know that what you see on the outside of a brain injury survivor is not what’s happening on the inside.

Schulz conquered the Iron Man race on Sept. 8 last year - and the celebration was short.

“Eight days later, I went into work and was attacked by a patient and everything kind of switched around.”

All of her training as an intensive care nurse couldn’t prepare her for the severe brain injury that came while working in the hospital, or the complications that would follow.

“I wasn’t able to drive. I wasn’t able to do much of anything. I couldn’t be around too much stimulation, so I couldn’t be around my family like I wanted to.”  

That’s where the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance, supported by its Walk for Thought, made a big difference in her recovery.

“It’s been a world of difference because they have provided me with resources. I get calls to connect me with therapists and to connect me with support groups.”  

The Brain Injury Alliance’s biggest fundraiser is the Walk for Thought, but the pandemic has turned this year’s walk into a virtual event.

Now, the Brain Injury Alliance’s David King said it’s never been more important to come together.

King encouraged participants to “make it their own, with their friends, with their family, in their neighborhoods, in their yards, in their local parks,” and to send footage.

“Let us see the fun they’ve had and hopefully raise some much-needed money along the way,” he said.  

Galen Schulz will walk as she continues recovery and remembers that she’s not alone. 

“We need that awareness for people, just to help people with brain injuries in the community, help us feel more comfortable and being part of society again.”  

Schulz finally recovered enough to return to her work as a cardiac ICU nurse at Abbott Northwestern, but she admits it’s been a year-long journey.

The Walk for Thought will take place Saturday, Sept. 26. For more information, click here.