As a physical therapist working with acute brain injured patients, it was refreshing to listen to Chris and Amy discuss their remarkable "journey". The couple provides rare insight from the patient and caregiver perspective of the evolution of Chris' recovery from disabled inpatient to TBI advocate. A welcomed presentation for healthcare providers, patients and caregivers.
-Eric Schwabe, PT MS Inpatient Rehabilitation, NY Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell Medical Center
To say that Dave Roberts is knowledgeable and inspirational at speaking events is an understatement. It also sells him short, as he is entertaining and humorous as well. He takes the tough subjects of loss and discovering your path and creates a safety net through his words about his journey. He allows the participants to extrapolate THEIR experience and connect the dots. He consistently delivers new aspects of learning about personal journey and we consistently hear how inspired our participants were at his events.
Brandon Russ, Owner/Creator
Spirit Tree Connections
Reverend Pat has a unique gift in who she is which is a blended in a personality of warmth, enthusiasm, spiritual awareness and keen sense of people’s feelings. She is very comfortable sharing her gift with others, leaving people she meets feeling like they have been touched by an angel. She offers relief and peace to the people she speaks with. Her deep spiritual approach touches people as she lets people know she is connected with them. She embraces conversation at a higher level often showing her emotional response relating to what is being discussed. It is the highest level of a conversational sincerity and response. If she is speaking with a person that is walking the darkness of a bereaved parent that has lost a child she will become one with this person. This may be the sincerity to cry with them, laugh and smile about past memories and offer advice during this bonding moment. The grace becomes the peace she gives people.
I wanted to write a recommendation that expressed my appreciation for Reverend Pat Furino but I realized it would present a unique difficulty to capture in words the person she is and how she helps people. I understand that in life I will meet people that I will connect with on a higher spiritual level. That doesn’t mean just the religious spirituality or chance encounter. It was by no accident that I met Rev Patty Furino who has been a pleasure to meet and work with. Her work with our non- profit organization, Angela’s House, has been especially helpful with our efforts to hug the heart of parents that have lost children. This work is very important because we feel it help parents with the worst things that will ever happen to them as we honor children that have passed.
Angela’s House Co-founder and the Executive Director
Hauppauge, NY 11788
Chris and Amy are truly inspirational! I appreciate you telling us your story and journey. No matter how much I’ve learned while treating individuals who suffer TBI’s, there is nothing better than hearing the individual and caregivers’ perspective. Amazing! Thank You so much! “
- Liza Ostrie, Occupational Therapist - NYC
As a result of the challenges presented due to the death of his daughter Jeannine, Dave has found meaning by compassionately helping individuals and families work through “their grief” following catastrophic loss. As a contributing author for The Open to Hope Foundation since 2009, Dave has contributed many quality articles on various aspects of the grief experience. Dave is a dynamic workshop presenter who has the ability to inspire individuals who have experienced life altering loss.
Dr. Heidi Horsley, Assistant Professor, Columbia University
Executive Director, Open to Hope Foundation
Cable T.V. and Radio Host: The Open to Hope Show
The emergency humanitarian assistance work of the American Red Cross is carried out by individuals such as yourself who selflessly give your time and talents. Thank you for your dedication and commitment to the mission of the American Red Cross. Your individual response to Superstorm Sandy was instrumental to the overall success Of the relief operation. Thank you for sharing with us two precious gifts - your time and your compassion for others.
You are the American Red Cross. As a disaster responder, you display the selflessness and dedication to humanity that enables us to continue the timeless commitment of this organization. We value your work and it is with deep appreciation that we say thank you.
The Government Operations Team
American Red Cross
"I was not very familiar with TBI before having the opportunity to learn from Chris at an Arizona Victim Assistance Academy conference on how to better assist victims of crime. In my job as a victim advocate I have worked with victims that are survivors of TBI. While I was always mindful of their condition I was not fully aware of how it was impacting their life. The information I learned, and the amazing story Chris shared of his recovery, was very eye opening for me. I thought back to victims I had worked with in the past and I couldn’t wait to share Chris’ book with them. My mind also raced to my current TBI survivors and how I could use this information to assist them and the prosecutor in their current cases. In the criminal justice system it is very important for the Judge to fully understand the impact that the crime and injuries had on the victim. Having clearer insight into the TBI injury, I will be prepared to ask better questions and provide better support to the TBI victims that I work with. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and information with us!"
- Erin Purce, Victim Advocate, Arizona ____________________________________________________________________________________________Dear Chris Hotaling,
I wish to communicate my most humble and appreciative words of praise and testament to the Rev Patty Furino for utilizing her gifts of spiritual wisdom, intuitiveness and the innate ability to listen, process and extract, with surgical precision, in the most concise and succinct manner, the essence of what really matters and where to assign focus.
Rev. Patty has my complete trust in her ability to guide me in a kind, considerate and skillful manner in the most fragile matters of the heart. I learned effective coping skills, and in the process, went from being a tortured soul to a peaceful and tranquil one. Rev. Patty consistently gave me clear-cut answers and immediate solutions to the challenges that I faced.
Thank God for Rev Patty during these most tumultuous times and her ability gently guide me through the healing process. And with only the most genuine and sincere thankfulness,
“Chris and Amy, You are truly an inspiration! Keep sharing your knowledge and experience because you are making a wonderful difference. Very Impressive!”
- Maia Watkins, Occupational Therapist - NYC
Thank you for sharing a moving film and discussion with our students on April 28th. You really helped our students understand mental illness in terms of family reverberations over time. You also helped them see that healing and better understanding may occur at any time over our lifespans.
Thank you for your warmth, openness and encouragement toward our students.
Utica College Occupational Therapy Professor
Chris and Amy, thank you for speaking at the Southwestern District conference of Pilot Club International in Phoenix. Your presentation was so interesting and educational. While Over the past years I have learned quite a bit about brain injury through various presentations, this is the first time I felt drawn into the baffling world in which a brain injury throws the injured individual and their family. Your presentation was better than most, for its content and delivery by you both. Hearing both sides of what happens when someone is injured was doubly beneficial. You have turned this journey from a tragic incident to a very positive endeavor to help others who find themselves in this life altering experience.
- Alayna Schaffer, Pilot Club International member, Littleton, Co
Thank you Patty for everything.
What an incredible experience you have shared with me. I am honored.
This was a Happy Anniversary with the beautiful gift I received from Mark through you and with you!
Diana M. Roscigno,
Licensed Practical Nurse
Author of I AM STILL HIS MOTHER, Grief Is This Normal?, Am I Going Crazy?;
Bereaved Parents of the USA Chapter Leader of the Long Island N.Y. Chapter.
“Dear Chris and Amy, this was so wonderful to see and hear a first-hand account of life beyond the injury. We often see many of our patients in the acute phase of injury. This is so great to give us an understanding and appreciation that even after all the therapy, change can still be made. You are truly inspirational! Thank you for sharing your story.”
- Elizabeth Martori, Occupational Therapist – NYC
Just wanted to say thanks again for coming back to Bideawee and being at our Pet Memorial day ceremony. I heard from a couple of people that this was the best ceremony yet and you played a big part in it. I also wanted to send you a picture from yesterday’s ceremony.
Chief Operating Officer and VP Finance and Administration
Dear Chris and Amy, thank you so much for speaking to our patients and families at last week’s event. Everyone who attended was inspired by your story. We sure appreciate all you have done and continue to do for the community!
- Karen Christiana, LPN - CareMeridian, Regional Director of Business Development - AZ
Dear Rev. Pat,
First I have to acknowledge that the service you provided proved to be one of the most moving presentations I have seen at such an event. My parents and my sister’s memorials were obviously very emotional for me but what you presented was uniquely touching and poignant.
Thanks for the wonderful services that you provide for Bideawee Care Facility, our staff and our extended families!!
Director of IT
Bideawee Care Facility
“Thank you Chris and Amy for sharing your story and your perspective. You are inspirational! It is so helpful to see such a great success story. We don’t always know what happens to our patients - it is helpful to know how we can provide hope to our patients at the beginning of their brain injury recovery experience.”
- Rachel Feld-Glazman, Occupational Therapist – NYC
Dear Rev Patty,
Saturday, August 8, 2009 was a quite obviously a very difficult day in the lives of our family. Not having the privilege (I guess you could call it that) of having to send a sibling off to another life, I wasn't sure of what to expect that day.
The ceremony was very warm, personal and comforting. Feeling comfortable may seem out of context here but it was comfortable in the sense that it seemed natural, unforced and real.
Thank you for your kindness in inviting our family and friends into your home and thank you to your family and friends in helping us to shoulder the burden of saying goodbye. It was exactly what Tom would have wanted. I know he was pleased.
Chris and Amy, it is great to see how well you are doing now in your life, but I understand way too well what that inner fear is like to live with. By opening up and letting the world know you, and understand the way you are now in your life, brings a sense of peace. Good luck to both of you and I hope you continue doing well.
-Marlene Sanders, President - Pilot Club of Belen, NM
Thanks for making USA Day a success. The hard work and energy you put in to this project paid off with a perfect day for the kids - and that’s what it is all about! I have learned a lot from you by the example you set in dealing with the challenges of organizing this project.
Joan, PTA President, North Babylon Public School District, NY
Thank you so much for judging the entries in the WLIW - TV Channel 21 READING RAINBOW'S YOUNG WRITERS AND ILLUSTRATORS AWARDS COMPETITION. Your help was invaluable.
Thank you for your thoughtful attention to each story and for the careful, caring way in which you reached your decision.
Instructional Television Services
TV Channel 21, Plainview, NY 11803
I would like to take this opportunity thank you for the fantastic job you did in organizing the Parliament Place Cultural Arts day on Friday, February 9th. The theme of “USA Day” was perfect, and inspired many interdisciplinary efforts, as could be seen by the projects that were on display.
Thanks again for all of your hard work. Events, such as the Cultural Arts Day, make me proud to be the principal
John K.Principal, North Babylon Public School District, NY
“Chris and Amy, The specific strategies and stories you mentioned are helpful.”
- Allison Kearney, Occupational Therapist – NYC
Professional Anonymous Testimonials:
- Chris and Amy, this session will help in my professional development and better assist clients I meet who are brain injury survivors and caregivers.
- Chris and Amy, this session provided a lot of great insights and suggestions.
- As a Physical Therapist, Chris and Amy have helped me better understand my patients who are going through major role changes with their significant other.
- Very professional training program; it was informative and well drafted. Thank you Chris and Amy
- Chris and Amy, your “Tool Box” and scenario examples will be very useful to me.
The “mock” peer mentoring sessions were very useful… “Doing” is always the best way to learn. Thank you Chris and Amy.
Conference Session Title: Let's Talk About It (An interactive Communications Skills Building experience)
How will this session help you:
- As PTA student, this class will help me communicate better with my patients and educate their family members.
- Better communicate with my OT clients and their families', and teach them to more effectively communicate with each other.
- The handouts were excellent! Great teamwork between Chris and Amy. Thank you for providing the hope that things will improve!
- How to thoughtfully communicate and attend (pay attention)
- This is good information for any human interaction ( personal or professional)
- Provided key words to use to promote healthy communication and eliminate distractions when engaged in communication
Anonymous Testimonials from “The Mystery of Brain Injury… Making the Invisible Visible - Professional Conference”
Keynote Presentation Title: “ Learning to Live Again .. A Theatrical Presentation”
- What was the most significant element of the session for you?
- A closer look at a TBI from a family member’s perspective.
- Realizing the actors where the actual couple who have been living with brain injury.
- The entire presentation. Seeing the journey of brain injury recovery acted out made it so much more meaningful than if it had just been, say, a video class. Excellent stuff.
- The breakdown of what was really happening at home.
- Hearing the story firsthand from Chris and Amy!
- Learning how important it is to listen to the families. We can learn so much from them.
- How will you use this information in your work or life?
- To remain mindful to really listen and validate the experience of the clients, the family, etc… Really great manner for presenting Chris and Amy’s story… the depiction really assisted in grasping the realities…
- Knowledge of the need to provide support to caregivers and patients more conscientiously.
- By being more sensitive to family’s experiences.
- Helps understand clients better.
- This info helps me understand the full scope of care burden for family and patient.
- Keep your personal experience in my mind to draw from for greater understanding.
- Listen more carefully to the families of my patients.
- Working with ABI and TBI population.
- Additional comments
- Thank you for taking your very personal experience and life changing event and using it for a positive change and education for others.
- Excellent presentation.
- Chris and Amy are wonderful inspiration.
- Your story was/is very inspirational.
Anonymous Testimonials from “The Mystery of Brain Injury… Making the Invisible Visible - Professional Conference”
Session Title: “The Transition… Life Beyond Therapy”
The handouts are very practical and will be extremely useful in the future.
- Excellent delivery, educational experience and presenter’s knowledge of the subject matter.
- This session was very valuable to my practice. So much to apply.
- An excellent presentation of useful information that can be put to immediate use.
- I am an occupational therapist and loved this presentation. My favorite speakers at the conference!
- Very motivating, and interactive session. You are both Amazing!
- Great speakers! I will definitely make copies of the “Practical Brain Injury Strategy Guides” and other resources you provided.
- The information from this session is very valuable to my case management practice.
- Wow... Incredible people! Such a remarkable story of working together as a couple to overcome amazing odds!
- Thank you … thank you! Your presentation was so powerful, on so many levels!
- Great tools and coping skills to better help understand clients.