Sarah Jane was born on June 5, 2005, healthy, strong and beautiful. But five days later she became lethargic and refused to nurse. Tests revealed multiple fractures and significant brain damage. Some days later, the baby nurse confessed she had violently shaken the helpless infant.
Sarah Jane’s parents were told their daughter would never walk or talk. Her dad began studying brain injury and the services available to families like his. The system he found was frustratingly arbitrary and disorganized.
And so in 2007, Patrick Donohue launched the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation (SJBF), a non-profit dedicated to prevent, identify, treat and eventually cure brain injury. SJBF’s first task was to develop a comprehensive plan to treat brain injury across the country. In 2009, SJBF brought together an advisory board of 75 of the nation’s leading brain injury experts to develop a comprehensive plan to treat brain injury across the country.
The result: The National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan (PABI Plan)—a seamless, standardized, evidence-based system of care universally accessible for all Americans with brain injury.
Meanwhile, there was no appropriate school for Sarah Jane. So in 2013, SJBF launched The International Academy of Hope (iHOPE-Academy), the only NYC school for students with brain injury.
iHOPE-Academy is changing the way the world understands and treats brain injury. Our purpose is to transform the way children with brain injuries are educated. In 2016, thanks to our donors, a 6,000 sq. ft. clinical wing was added to our school, launching iHOPE-Center. The expansion made it possible to double student enrollment and offer after-hours and weekend clinical services.