Thousands Walk for Brain Injury Awareness

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Thousands participated in the 8th Walk for Brain Injury Sacramento at the State Capitol Sunday morning.

It was the biggest of nine Brain Injury Walks happening around the state.

The events’ purpose is to awareness about traumatic brain injuries, and raise funds for research and lobbying.

“Brain injury can be anyone, any place, anywhere,” Marlene Steele of the Brain Injury Association of California said.

She explained how these injuries do not discriminate, and can happen to anyone.

Many spoke at the event, including Miss Inland Empire Madison Givens, who survived a traumatic cheerleading brain injury, and Assemblyman Ken Cooley, who has pushed for strict helmet laws for youth football players.

FOX40 met with Folsom firefighter and paramedic, Eric Williams and his “Team Strong Will.” Williams is recovering from a traumatic brain injury after being struck by a cyclist while jogging by his home in Folsom on January 6.

“He was in a coma for several days, in critical condition. The doctor said this type of injury typically is fatal,” his brother-in-law, Jeremy Cargile said.

But he survived. Slowly, he opened his eyes, started giving thumbs up signals, remained disciplined in his rehab, and is regaining his cognitive abilities. His family said he even surprised his wife Alicia and daughter Harper with cookies he made himself.

Almost three months later, he can now walk on his own two feet, and is now celebrating his survival at the Walk.

Surrounded by his army of supporters sporting shirts that read “Strong Will,” Eric Williams is well on his road to recovery.

“It’s an abbreviation for Strong Williams,” Cargile said. “But also, Eric, through his recovery process, was demonstrated an exemplary strong will.”

Many members of his fire team also showed their support. Folsom Fire Chief Ron Phillips walked the event, wearing a shirt that read “Saving Your Seat.”

“We recently acquired a brand new ladder truck for the city, and when we first brought it home and showed Eric, he was very excited. So we saved a seat for him. So that when he comes back, he'll always have a place to go to,” Chief Phillips said.

“The Eric that we knew and loved has come back. It's still going to be a long road as far as his recovery... but the incredible person that he was is still with us, and we are incredibly grateful for that,” Cargile said.