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Over the past year, the United Brachial Plexus Network (UBPN) has seen changes in the leadership and Board of Directors (BOD). As many of you have heard, we've had a changing of the guard at UBPN, and Richard Looby, our long-time President of UBPN (12 years, in fact), has decided to pass the torch into others’ capable and willing hands. There have been some changes within the Board of Directors as well. 

While we are excited for the future of UBPN, we would be amiss if we didn’t recognize the tremendous impact and gifts that those who have left their official positions have had on the organization and our BPI community as a whole. We are both incredibly grateful for those who have spent so many years serving our community and very excited about the new ideas and energy we have coming in.  It is with heartfelt gratitude that we say farewell in an official capacity to those who have stepped down from the BOD after many years of dedication and service, although never a goodbye!  Each one has dedicated countless hours of time and effort which have been invaluable to UBPN as well as the BPI community.  We all know and realize that many of you have benefited from their commitment and service. We want to thank Rich Looby, Kara Rosenberg, Courtney Widzinski, Mackenzie Rutherford, Amy Johnson, and Dan Aldrich by sharing with you some of their stories and contributions over the years.

 

Rich Looby

  • First came into contact with the BPI community when UBPN was still its previous version, Erbs Palsy Injury Resource Group (EPIRG) in 1997 after his daughter Kailyn was injured during birth with an obstetrical brachial plexus injury (OBPI)
  • Wrote an article (2001) in UBPN's (then biannual) magazine, Outreach, about 504 rights, IEPs, and other ways to advocate for children which led to him joining the BOD in 2002
  • 2004 became Vice President and then President in August 2008
  • Always willing to share his personal experience regarding Kailyn’s birth, the immediate period following her birth with his realization that she was injured, his struggle with guilt and feeling as though “he should have prevented this from happening” as a Dad/Husband, and how this has fueled his desire to spread awareness and prevention of this injury from happening to any other child
  • Moderated numerous “Dad Groups” at UBPN’s camps
  • Always shouldering without hesitation the never-ending list of tasks and background activities that must be completed on a frequent basis while serving in the capacity of President of an all-volunteer organization such as UBPN (the list is well beyond comprehension)
  • Is stepping back but not away from the organization to have more time to spend with his family and other interests, always willing to serve in the capacity of “Past President” to help the organization through this transition
  • Continues to serve as a resource for IEP/504 information for the BPI community
  • Has helped secure funding for UBPN, assisted organizing get-togethers in the greater Boston area, spoken on behalf of UBPN and father’s everywhere numerous times



Kara Rosenberg

  • Joined the BOD in 2011 after being an active part of our community for 11 years
  • Mother to Jared who was injured during birth 20 years ago
  • Has been a staunch supporter for mothers and their injured children 
  • Has an amazingly huge giving heart worn on her sleeve at all times
  • Acted as an advocate to help those injured get the care they need
  • Instrumental in helping raise humongous amounts of funding to allow UBPN to pay for camp so any and all could attend
  • Always coming up with creative ideas of how to better fundraise and network, thinking outside the box and making a relentless amount of phone calls/emails tirelessly trying to obtain even one more fundraised dollar
  • Her considerable passion and ability to fundraise leaves big shoes to fill and it will certainly take all of us (and then some) to do it

 

Courtney Widzinski

  • Was injured in a car accident, leaving her with a Traumatic Brachial Plexus Injury (TBPI) many years ago 
  • First joined the Board of Directors in 2002
  • Has served as secretary for the Board of Directors in the past
  • Served as part of the Outreach (quarterly newsletter) and Scholarship committees
  • Has been a substantial support to the TBPI community, being available to connect with others with a TBPI, understanding their perspective, and offering support
  • Is very outspoken can always be counted on for a good laugh, and has a longtime love for Jimmy Buffett

 

Mackenzie Rutherford

  • Had the privilege to grow up with her dear brother, Jared, and be closely involved with UBPN from an early age 
  • Passion for the organization grew, and she served on the Junior Board of Directors (JBOD) in 2017 where she was quick to provide valuable feedback about the teen and sibling perspective
  • Served as the Vice President and President of the JBOD
  • Has been a champion for teens and siblings within the UBPN community 
  • Joined the general Board of Directors in 2019 after graduating from the JBOD
  • Served as secretary for BOD and continued to present ideas and suggestions for the good of the UBPN community at heart

 

Amy Johnson

  • First discovered UBPN while researching Erb’s Palsy for her 9th-grade health science fair which in turn was the manner in which she finally learned about what was “wrong” she says with her arm
  • In 2006, she joined the Board of Directors, sharing her passion for learning about this injury
  • Her passion for knowledge continued during her 14 years of service with UBPN which included obtaining her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy and her Doctorate Degree in the field as well
  • Ongoing advocate for research within the BPI community and professional field
  • Served on many committees including Awareness Program, Outreach (quarterly newsletter), Scholarship Committee, and Professional Liaison
  • Attended the 2019 Narakas Symposium in Amsterdam, Netherlands as a UBPN representative 

 

Dan Aldrich

  • Received a traumatic global brachial plexus avulsion (C5-T1) in 1986 at 18 yrs old while competing in a water-ski racing tournament 
  • Since 2006 has been active on the UBPN message boards often offering support and motivation for those seeking to be physically active again 
  • 2007 convinced a fellow TBPI on the message boards (UBPN’s current president) to join him in Mexico to meet-up with another TBPI and learn how to waterski one-armed. While none of the three had met in-person before, each had designed and fabricated their own “BPI slings'' from a dire need to remain athletically engaged
  • Since 2007 has made and shipped well over a thousand custom fit BPI “Aldrich Athletic Slings” (at no profit to himself) for those in need (including numerous BPI para-athlete Champions and Olympians) which many define as “life-saving” 
  • 2011 joined the BOD, serving on the TBPI Support Group Team, and eventually serving in the role as Vice President
  • Has arguably spoken with more TBPIs than anyone else on the planet
  • Retired to fulfill his passion as current President of the North American One-Armed Golfer Association (NAOAGA).

 

We at UBPN will miss working with all of you amazing individuals, Rich, Kara, Courtney, Amy, Mackenzie, and Dan and know we’ve been lucky to have you be part of our team for as long as we did! Thanks for all your years of hard work, support, compassion, contributions, and please trust that UBPN’s doors are always open for you! 

New ideas, bright strength, recharged fervor in the Presidential role is currently being filled by Christopher Janney who has served on the Board of Directors since 2008. He offers great perspective stemming from his traumatic brachial plexus injury in 2002.

Our Vice President is Jordyn Whiting. She has a brachial plexus injury from birth and has been on the Board of Directors since 2019.  

We want to welcome Rachel Storms as our newest member of the Board of Directors and as our Social Media coordinator.  Rounding out the rest of the BOD is Kimberly Walker and Tanya Jennison, long-time dedicated and resilient members.  Please join us in welcoming new members, congratulating new positions, wishing well to members stepping away, and reminding ourselves that it takes a community to spread awareness, offer support, fundraise, champion potential and raise a village such as our BPI community!

Sincerely,

The United Brachial Plexus Network Board of Directors

Christopher Janney, Jordyn Whiting, Kimberly Walker, Tanya Jennison, and Rachel Storms

United Brachial Plexus Network's second annual Virtual 5k Run/Walk was a rounding success Raising almost $4,000 for Camp UBPN 2021.  The goal of this Run/Walk was to bring awareness to the public about life-altering brachial plexus injuries while raising funds.  UBPN Camp 2021 is a 4 day, 3-night informational gathering for people affected by brachial plexus injuries and their families.  Through fundraisers like this, UBPN is able to have all people with a brachial plexus injury attend camp without paying for room and board.  Thanks toThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the organization of this event.  Looking forward to next year's 5K!  Contact Lisa for any further information or if you would like to help next years event.


#ubpnvirtual5k

 

 

Camp UBPN 2019 was held at the Silver Bay YMCA Conference and family retreat center on the shores of Lake George in Silver Bay, NY June 27 2019-June 30-2019. Drone footage of Camp Silver Bay Click here .  

 
The weather was very cooperative and the site was fantastic!  We had wonderful speakers, anti-bullying workshops, mothers and fathers roundtables, and a myriad of other speakers and activities enjoyed by those in attendance.  We are currently looking at new camp-sites and are narrowing it down to somewhere in the midwest!

 

For questions, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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  • Address: 32 William Road Reading, MA 01867
  • Phone: 781-315-6161
  • Website: ubpn.org
  • Email: info@ubpn.org