Meet the Team
We are a small team making a big difference in the lives of head injury survivors and their families in the Comox Valley!
History of CVHIS
The Comox Valley Head Injury Society (CVHIS) is a non-profit organization providing programs and support services to acquired brain injury survivors, their families and caregivers in the Comox Valley.
In 1991, the Comox Valley had two active community groups, the Caregivers Support Group and the Comox Valley Head Injury Support Group, both meeting regularly. In 1993 the two groups joined forces to form the Comox Valley Head Injury Society (CVHIS), with the mission to promote the health and well-being of participants, and reduce incidences of brain injury in the Comox Valley through prevention-based education. By the spring of 1994 the society had over 50 families actively involved and was hosting its first Acquired Brain Injury Conference. From these humble beginnings to now, the society has grown and changed as needed.
Stephanie is the third generation of her family born and raised on Vancouver Island. She has a range of experience and education, including a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a bookkeeping mentorship, and many years of office management. Stephanie is a recovering politician, having finished a term as an elected official for the Town of Comox from 2018 to 2022. She appreciated her time in office, especially having the opportunity to advocate for those underrepresented marginalized communities and bringing an alternative perspective to the table.
Stephanie has sat as liaison or director on several boards during her time in office, and she continues to serve as a director the Comox Archives and Museum Society.
Stephanie knows how a head injury can affect a person in unique ways, as she has more than one family member who has experienced traumatic brain injury. In that way, she is acutely aware of the impact of communication styles and how they are impacted by a TBI. Stephanie’s family includes her husband Cam, two boys (Zander and Finley), as well as a dog (Thor) and two cats (Nibbler and Jackie). She enjoys knitting and creepy documentaries in her spare time. Stephanie tries to maintain a mindset of constant growth and learning and is excited to begin her journey with the incredible CVHIS team.
Linda Tutin is CVHIS’ Case Coordinator, holding this role since 2012.
In 2003, Linda’s 17-year-old son, Chris, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle accident. Moving to the Comox Valley in 2007 in order to access services for Chris.
She started with CVHIS as a volunteer at the Tuesday lunch program. Upon completion of her social support worker diploma she joined the CVHIS staff.
When asked what she most enjoys about her role, Linda says “I love the wins, I love getting those services that shouldn’t be so hard for disabled people to access. I love seeing clients’ faces when they tell me that their application for funding has been accepted.” Linda sees her work as an opportunity to pay it forward.
In her off time she can be found spending quality time with her family.
Allisyn recently moved to the Comox Valley, and joined our team as Program Coordinator in 2022.
Allisyn came to CVHIS with a diverse background in teaching yoga, specializing in Trauma-Informed Yoga and Restorative. As well as teaching art and running her farm before moving to the Comox Valley, Allisyn has experience working with people with disabilities and neurodivergence and is passionate about helping others.
Allisyn will be wearing many hats here at CVHIS, such as running our Yoga and Wellness programs. She is excited to be working with all the amazing staff and clients here.
In her spare time, she can be found exploring nature with family and friends, adventuring out on the water, yoga, art and in the garden every day if she can!
Glenda moved to the Comox Valley from Alberta in 2018, and is very thankful to be a part of this amazing community.
Her background in office administration is a natural fit with the office. As Administrative Coordinator, Glenda is our first point of contact at the office. She loves to help and will be there for our patrons, whether it is answering questions or helping at one of our events.
When not at CVHIS, you can find Glenda walking the many trails in the Valley and/or collecting shells during her walks. She is also an avid nature photographer, taking pictures during her journeys.
Board of Directors
Carole joined the board in May 2004. She has held the position of President for 12 years and prior to that, she was the society’s Vice President and active volunteer.
In the late ‘80’s Carole became involved with CVHIS after a family member had suffered a traumatic brain injury due to a motor vehicle accident. At the time, the society was small, comprising of only 8-10 people, and meeting at the rec center in Courtenay.
Carole created the volunteer led lunch program, which began in 1997. She is still very involved in the program, and on Tuesdays, can be found bringing pies, cakes and the like to the legion to be distributed among participants.
In her spare time, she enjoys reading and loves the outdoors, specifically camping and fishing on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Nancy joined the board in July 2017.
She is the mother of a head injury survivor and is a supporter of our society work.
Nancy currently sits on the Fundraising Committee and has been instrumental in our refundable beverage drive fundraisers.
She is a retired RN, avid golfer and curler.
Sharon joined the board in September, 2021.
She is an accountant and owner of Sharon Hadden Accounting, bringing a wealth of financial knowledge to the society.
She believes that CVHIS does good work for a good cause and is looking forward to becoming part of the team.
Laurie Joined the CVHIS board in September 2019 and shortly after, took on the role of Secretary. She is also the chair of the fundraising committee.
Laurie is a retired communications specialist, an avid gardener and a family member of a survivor.
She has a keen interest in neuroscience and in supporting those with head injuries.
Diane has been a member of the Board of Directors on and off for the past 26 years, and was last elected in May 2014.
She is the wife of founder and supporter Warren Fietz.
Diane is currently the Chair of our HR Committee and is an active member of the Policy Committee.
Diane is currently retired after a nursing career in the community.
Allen joined the Board in October of 2018.
He is a valued member of the board and acts as a liaison between the board and participants as a head injury survivor himself.
Allen is a member of our Fundraising committee and along with his mom Nancy has been an important part of our refundable beverage container fundraisers.
Steve is a lawyer in his hometown of Courtenay. He primarily practices in personal injury and wills and estates litigation. He joined the CVHIS board in September 2018.
Throughout his years practicing injury law, Steve is aware that persons with head injuries are some of the most vulnerable people in our community and without the help of CVHIS, they would have very little in the way of support. As a result, Steve is honored for the opportunity to contribute to CVHIS.
He and his wife Stephanie, have two children and they enjoy participating in a variety of outdoor activities including snowboarding, boating and mountain biking.
Friends of CVHIS
Michelle’s story started when she was in a vehicle accident in 2013. Michelle was driving down a Victoria street when she collided with a lady driving the wrong way down a one way street and ended up in a head on collision. After the accident Michelle was treated for physical injuries but during physio it became apparent that she had sustained a brain injury. She was referred to a concussion clinic where she continued treatment but was not receiving emotional support. Michelle was soon depressed and became suicidal so she was admitted to the psychiatric ward in the Victoria Hospital for treatment for a couple of months for emotional support and adjustment to the right medications. It was at this time that Michelle started painting and realized her love of art and music. With no family support in Victoria, her parents moved her back to the Comox Valley and into their home where they could offer support.
It was at that time that Michelle was referred to the Comox Valley Head Injury Society and shares her first memories. ‘It was awesome! Survivors group made me realize that I wasn’t alone in my symptoms, I felt I could contribute and help others, and it encouraged me to keep attending. I felt less suicidal and wanted to try more activities.’
Through CVHIS Michelle has attended BIA supported art therapy, music therapy, private counselling and most recently, has become a volunteer in our Employment Program. ‘Art therapy helped me so much with emotional and therapeutic support. I have learnt crafts, drumming, ukulele, leadership skills and there’s more I’m hoping to do! Music classes are my favorite day of my week, we were just discussing that when we can all come together and focus on music instead of any negative feelings, it can change our emotions. Music at CVHIS gives everyone a voice and always makes me feel good for a few days after. I hope music and the other programs continue for a long time!’
Aline Jensen is a brain injury survivor. Her journey started during childhood with an abusive mother, as she sustained multiple injuries including two diagnosed concussions which was later followed by a major concussion from falling out of a truck. Aline remembers the pain starting at 8 years of age which pretty much continued until she was finally diagnosed much later in life with having a tumor on the right side of her head, between her skull and brain. She was also diagnosed with PTSD due to the trauma she had sustained during childhood. Due to these injuries she could no longer continue with her profession as a trained chef.
After surgery, Aline was very determined to survive and improve her skills and through some difficult times and a lot of hard work, she obtained a degree in horticulture. She would look into starting a new career and things were looking up, but as happens to many survivors, Aline was taken advantage of and was scammed in a housing situation which landed her at an emergency shelter.
Aline was finding life and getting by difficult without being able to work full time and was trying to obtain PWD (persons on disability benefits). After her application was denied, it was suggested by another community organization that she come to CVHIS for help. Through our Case Coordinator’s assistance, she was finally able to obtain a PWD designation in 2012 which would give her at least some minimal funding to survive.
Now more than 10 years later she’s still a client of CVHIS and shares that she’s not sure what she would have done without us and realizes how important funding is to provide our services. Aline has become a volunteer with us through our employment program, receiving a modest stipend for hours worked, which enables her to use some of her culinary skills as she assists and has become a valuable volunteer with our weekly lunch program. She has also started taking part in our group wellness activities and has recently been participating in dragon boating with us. In her words: Through the society I’ve gained friendships and confidence. I’m now doing things that I never thought I’d be able to do!
On January 2, 2000 Mike Warren was driving to work when he thought he might be having a heart attack so he pulled over to flag a car down for help and the next thing he remembers is waking up in the hospital. He later discovered that he had a grand mal seizure and that he had a brain tumor the size of a small grapefruit that had pushed the right side of his brain to the left side. He would require 13 hours of surgery.
Six years later, Mike was experiencing blurring in his right eye and was referred to a neuro-ophthalmologist who discovered he had another brain tumor, again on the right side and would need immediate surgery. Unfortunately, during the process of removing the tumor the optic nerve for his right eye was detached, which has left him blind in the one eye.
Another 13 years went by until one evening in 2019, Mike had 2 seizures on the same night. He has now had a total of 5 grand mal seizures. Mike remained in denial that the seizures had affected him until he was shown that he had had a partial temporal lobectomy which resulted in memory loss. He now undergoes an MRI every year.
After his last seizures, he was referred to the CVHIS by his neurologist. Mike says ‘I can’t believe how I hesitated in the past but now that I have participated in CVHIS activities and see how it has benefited me, I jump on everything I can’. Mike participates in CVHIS programs, such as wellness activities (yoga, mindfulness, journaling), and has recently become a peer supporter and regular volunteer. He also held a one-man Mike’s Miles walkathon fundraiser for us in Sept. 2021!
Mike says, ‘I want to give back to the society that has helped me so much. I’m happy with my life now, I have become a better person, and a lot of that comes from CVHIS. I am amazed at what staff do, and how they do it so well, I take advantage of as much as I can.’