Help for Iowans affected by brain injury - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Help for Iowans affected by brain injury


WATERLOO (KWWL) -- 95,000 people are affected by brain injuries in Iowa.

Cody Beninga and Sasha Childers suffered from brain injuries and now stay at Harmony House in Waterloo. These two individuals have an uphill battle, but thanks to the help of family and friends in just a few short years they have come a long way.

Beninga's grandparents never thought their 26-year-old grandson would be fighting this battle after leaving the Navy.

"Three years ago Cody was downtown in one of the local places and he was attacked by two men. He was struck, he fell over his head and hit the cement and became brain injured," said Pat Derifield, Beninga's grandfather.

The attack happened just eight months after Cody returned home.

"The doctor said he will be a vegetable for the rest of his life and we looked at each other and said you don't know Cody," Derifield said.

And they were right. Beninga can now walk and even talk.

Sasha Childers also suffers from a brain injury.

"She just got in a car wreck," Sasha's daughter, Ayanna Childers, said.

Ayanna was only five when the accident happened, luckily she was not with her mother at the time.

"Sasha was in the back seat of the car and the car was hit on the side. The car spun around and hit a pole causing damage on both sides of her head," Sasha's mother, Jane Childers, said.

Like Beninga, Childers keeps fighting that uphill battle, and is also making progress. For both there is that one ultimate goal.

"That she could just get home," Ayanna said.

"Our goal is Cody will live at home," Derifield said.

Cody Beninga and Sasha Childers currently stay at Harmony House in Waterloo. It is just one of 31 long term care facilities in Iowa.

The goal for people who stay at Harmony House is to get them back into the community as quickly as possible.

The journey these two people are making is similar to Arizona Congresswoman Gabbi Giffords. Just three weeks into her rehabilitation she is making progress. Now being able to walk with a shopping cart and playing tic-tac-toe.

Online Reporter: Nikki Newbrough

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