How We Began
How the Michael Coss Brain Injury Foundation Began
When Michael Coss’s parents were told by doctors that their son would possibly remain in a coma for years and would need long term care for the rest of his life, they decided to find solutions; alternative treatments. A family member heard about HBOT, they researched HBOT treatments on the internet and they decided to give it a try. After 6 months in a coma, Michael woke up. Since then he is making huge improvements thanks to HBOT together with other therapies which stimulate brain function.
Michael Coss received help from his family, from friends and coworkers, psychological support of course which is extremely important during recovery, but most importantly, financial help to cover the cost for HBOT treatments.
Today, even though Michael has made tremendous improvements from being in a deep coma to being able to stand up and walk with a cane, he knows that he is not there yet and he will have to work hard every single day to get better and better – step by step – and he considers himself extremely lucky for the tremendous support that has helped him to get where he is today.
The case of Michael may be seen as an exception. And Michael knows it. That’s why today, he wants to give back to the community. Michael wants to contribute in giving a chance to brain injury survivors like himself and their coping families who don’t have the means to have a better quality of life. This is why Michael has decided to create his own foundation – The Michael Coss Brain Injury Foundation – which is now his priority, after his rehab and his family.
My Name is Michael Coss.
I had the idea of starting the Michael Coss Brain Injury Foundation in 2009, as Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy (HBOT) gave me a second chance at life. Until then, doctors thought that my parents should look for a long term care facility to take care of me for the rest of my life. My experience fundraising for the Rick Hansen Foundation (2007), gave me the idea to do something for brain injury survivors and promote and help fund HBOT.
My team back then was composed of friends, family members, co-workers, former bosses and customers. We were able to raise over $22,000 for RHF. I am proud to say we were the top fundraising team in Canada. I did that from my wheelchair; now nothing can stop me, it is my turn to give back to others, as my friends, family members, and co-workers gave me a second chance at life.
I want to make a difference in the quality of lives of those affected by a TBI or ABI. After all, HELP FUNDING HBOT, that is what my friends, family members and co-workers did for me!
The Michael Coss Brain Injury Foundation
The Michael Coss Brain Injury (MCBI) Foundation was created in 2009.
The Foundation was started in order to assist children with brain injury to access hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) and/or alternate therapies that are not covered by the medical system in Canada.
The MCBI Foundation operates as a society and is registered under the Society Act of British Columbia.
MCBI Foundation Business number: 80170 0295 BC0001
Creation of the Michael Coss Brain Injury Fund
The Coquitlam Foundation is a registered charity and a member of the Community Foundations of Canada. It is their mandate to build endowment funds to support important community initiatives.
Working together enables us to receive donations directed to the Michael Coss Brain Fund at the Coquitlam Foundation. The Coquitlam Foundation provides tax charitable receipts, and their board can authorize grants from the Michael Coss Brain Injury Fund to pay for treatments for children with brain injury.
Coquitlam Foundation Charitable Registration Number:
Vision, Mission, Goals
Our vision is to improve the lives of children with brain injury and their families.
Our primary mission is to help Canadian children who have sustained traumatic or acquired brain injury to access HBOT and/or other alternate treatments.
Our secondary mission is to provide modest funding support for initiatives which provide Education, Information and Inspiration that will help motivate and support brain injury survivors, caretakers, health professionals and rehabilitation team(s).
Lastly, funds may be made available to support research and development initiatives related to the scientific advancement of new rehabilitative options for children and others recovering from acquired brain injury and related injuries.
- To make brain injury survivors, as well as family members, aware of the benefits of HBOT.
- To reach out and respond to those survivors of brain injuries who cannot afford HBOT and/or other promising alternate therapies that are not covered by Medical System.
- To raise money to support the work mentioned above; to organize fundraising activities to cover the costs of HBOT and/or other unfunded therapies that may become available in the future.
Eligibility for Funding Treatment:
- Priority for support will be given to a child determined to be most likely to benefit from therapy; a child whose family or support team does not have the means for such treatment.
- A child from the City of Coquitlam, or from the Tri-Cities, will be given preference. An individual who is not a local resident may be supported if a local child is not identified as in need of, or eligible for support.
I was on cloud 9 when my injury occurred, a new father I was, to both a son and daughter who are twins. I was just promoted to field marketing at Molson Coors Canada; the department that creates and designs programs which assist the sales reps to sell more beer within the market place.
My children were just 6 months old at the time of my injury. They are my pride and joy. I have a picture of them on my nightstand and they are the reason that I work so hard at my rehab each and every day.
My injury occurred when I was driving up to Kelowna for a work function at 9 am. I was driving on the Coquihalla Highway to a Golf event when it was assumed that I veered off the highway to avoid an animal crossing. The vehicle that I was driving left the highway, rolled over a few times, and then came to a stop. My son was induced into a COMA for 10 days, my wife fractured her wrist, my daughter was uninjured, and I suffered a defused brain injury. I fell into a deep COMA for the next 61/2 months. I naturally went into a total fetal position like I was in mother’s womb.
After doing some research on the internet my parents decided that HBOT (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) was the route to take for my recovery. It worked, and after my third treatment of HBOT, I made the 1st sign of recovery.
In view of my condition, only one facility in Canada accepted to take me for HBOT and that was the Richmond Hyperbaric Healthy Center in Richmond, BC. My mother accompanied me as I was transported 5 days a week via ambulance. Since I was in a coma when I started in the chamber, there was concern about my ears, so Mom accompanied me and tried putting a sponge, with some water on it, in my mouth to make me swallow and equalize the pressure within my ears. It worked.
I was like a newborn baby. I had to relearn everything: holding up my head, how to sit, how to stand, how to do my personal hygiene, get dressed, how to speak, how to eat, and relearn all of this with my left side hemiplegia. I was on a feeding tube in the hospital. The tube was placed into my stomach which nourished my entire system, and then I progressed to a puree diet. My beverages had to be thickened with a thickener and my water needed an ice cube in it, because the colder a beverage is the easier it is to swallow. When I regained my voice, I spoke my wife and children’s names, but my first word was STEAK! And boy was that 1st STEAK delicious when I was able to eat it.
I am now living in a Group Home operated by CONNECT Communities in Langley, BC. It is a group home run by trained rehab professionals, skilled and experienced in complex transitional rehabilitation and residential support services.
I attend various therapies on a regular basis and consider myself blessed to have been given a 2nd chance at life. On a daily basis, I work at improving my cognitive and physical abilities. From the cognitive side, I have to improve my short term memory and my impulsivity.
To this day, I continue to work on my speech. The challenges I face, from a physical side are: my balance, my gait pattern. While my left arm and hand have a mind of their own, I have not said my last word yet. Although many doors have been closed, I am living a full life, keeping a positive attitude, meeting new people, and embracing each day step-by-step, with a smile.
My goal is to inspire others to be the best they can be in their own personal situation.
~ Michael Coss (2013)
Support the Foundation
Here are 5 ways people can support the work that our foundation is doing with and for individuals and families recovering from brain injury.
1. Share information
Do you have personal experience with TBI recovery, HBOT, or other successful therapies that might be helpful for others facing similiar challenges? Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Buy Michael’s book
Michael’s book is a true inspiration to individuals who sustained a TBI as well as their family members and support personnel. Michael’s book may be purchased at www.amazon.ca, www.barnesandnoble.com or order through any Chapter’s/Indigo location. All profits go to help fund the treatment for Children Program.
3. Donate to our Michael Coss Brain Injury Fund (managed through the Coquitlam Foundation)
To support Treatment costs for children, our foundation has created a fund with the Coquitlam Foundation (our local community foundation). Donations may be made online or mailed in by cheque.
The Coquitlam Foundation works with the national charity CanadaHelps.org to be able to process online donations.
By clicking on the link below, you will be taken to the CanadaHelps website which is dedicated to Coquitlam Foundation fund donors like you. You will see the words, “Your Donation Will Support:” and where you see the word “general“, simply go to the end of that line and click on the down arrow. You will be provided a list of funds, so that you may choose the ‘Michael Coss Brain Injury Fund‘. Now proceed to provide your payment information and any message you wish to add.
Please note: you will be issued your tax receipt immediately so you may wish to print it off at the time of your online donation.
Here is the link: CanadaHelps.org
Donate by cheque
Please make cheque payable to Coquitlam Foundation and mail to:
c/o P.O. Box 2
1207 Pinetree Way,
A Coquitlam Foundation tax receipt will be sent to you by return mail.
4. Sign up for “iGive.com” and certain businesses you shop from online will forward a donation to our foundation.
Shopping via “iGive.com” is essentially a store rebate program where “iGive” members have the opportunity to donate their rebate to their chosen cause. You can also purchase “GROUPON” deals through “iGive.com”.
Participate at upcoming events identified under News & Events. If you are interested in volunteering, please let us know under CONTACT US .
Treatment For Children Program
If you have a child who is living with the consequences of a recent or chronic TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) or ABI (Non-Traumatic / Acquired Brain Injury), then you might be interested in this special program.
In partnership with a support group, Hyperbaric Awareness in British Columbia, WE ARE LOOKING FOR CHILDREN who have recently had a brain injury in order to compile data, evaluate and compare the success of both immediate and delayed, continual application, of Oxygenation (HBOT – Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy) to the brain, following either TBI or ABI. Our main focus at this time is HBOT.
The process involves the use of a high pressure oxygen chamber and requires daily treatments for up to 2 months.
Treatments can be undergone twice a day or once a day, each individual treatment lasting up to 2 hours.
- Child is under 19 years of age
- Child is medically stable and able to be transported
- Accessible caregiver during treatment procedure
- Recent TBI or ABI (6 months or less) or Chronic TBI or ABI (within 5 years)
Priority for support will be given to a child determined to be most likely to benefit from therapy; a child whose family or support team does not have the financial means for such treatment.
A child from the City of Coquitlam, or from the Tri-Cities, will be given preference. An individual who is not a local resident may be supported if a local child is not identified as in need of, or eligible for support.
As previously mentioned, we work in partnership with a support group, Hyperbaric Awareness in British Columbia. If you feel you can qualify and are interested, then please contact Hyperbaric Awareness in British Columbia at: 1-800-215-1714 to discuss your interest in this program.
To support treatment costs for children, our foundation has created a fund with the Coquitlam Foundation (our local community foundation). If Qualification Requirements are met, we will contact the Coquitlam Foundation to recommend that THE INITIAL 40 TREATMENT COSTS for the therapy be covered by the Michael Coss Brain Injury Fund c/o The Coquitlam Foundation.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does the Michael Coss Brain Injury Foundation help with brain-related cases not involving brain injury?
No. The Michael Coss Brain Injury Foundation focuses on helping children who have sustained traumatic and acquired brain injury to access HBOT and benefit from these treatments.
Regretfully, our resources are limited, therefore we are unable to provide assistance for people suffering from degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or brain diseases at birth such as Cerebral Palsy for instance.
Why do some brain injuries get referred to as TBI versus ABI?
‘TBI’ is short for Traumatic Brain Injury which may be caused by:
Motor vehicle traffic accidents
Struck by or struck against a moving or stationary object
Sport related accidents (skiing, ice-skating, skate-boarding, biking..etc)
Falls and slips
Assaults with fire arms or knife or other physical violence
‘ABI’ refers to an Acquired Brain Injury (also called Non-Traumatic Brain Injury).
Causes of ABI include:
Arterovenous Malformation > hemorrhagic stroke
Aneurism > hemorrhagic stroke
Toxic exposures to chemical and gases
Do I need a doctor’s referral to get HBOT treatments?
You don’t need a referral from your doctor to get support from us and/or receive Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy. A professional connected with the HBOT Centre will assess potential candidates for our funding support (see below).
How do I start the process of accessing the support of The Michael Coss Brain Injury Fund? What do I need to do?
Firstly, please contact us and tell us about your story and how/why The Michael Coss Brain Injury Fund could help you. After a first evaluation based on your case, you would be assessed by a professional in one of the HBOT clinics we are partnering with to make sure you are a good candidate for this type of treatment.
Do you accept young children for HBOT treatments?
Absolutely! Children from a few months old up to 19 years of age, who have sustained a traumatic brain injury or an acquired brain injury, are very good candidates for HBOT. They should start treatments as soon as possible while their brain is still growing.
Can I still benefit from HBOT treatment if my brain injury occurred years ago?
Yes. It has been proven that HBOT treatments can significantly improve the quality of life of those who are suffering from brain damage that occurred many years previous.
How can The Michael Coss Brain Injury Fund help me?
If the HBOT team we partner with determines that you are a good candidate for HBOT treatments, our team will make a request to the Fund on your behalf. We will ask that the Michael Coss Brain Injury Fund (managed by the Coquitlam Foundation) to cover the cost of the initial 40 HBOT treatments.
If I’m living far from the clinic, will you pay for my transportation and my stay?
No. Our mission is to help those who don’t have the means by paying for the cost of the treatments. Another part of our work is to find and partner with clinics offering such treatments (within easy access). Most clinics are located in the lower mainland. If you live far from the nearest clinic that works with us and you have to travel everyday for your treatments, transportation costs will be of your responsbility.
You say that your mission is to help those who don’t have the means. How do you determine who can or cannot receive financial assistance for HBOT?
Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy can be costly depending on each brain injury survivor’s case, therefore it makes it out of reach of most people who simply cannot financially afford to pay for it. We want to give a chance for these children to live a better quality of life and at the same time help families in their everyday’s lives.
Determining those who are the right candidates for HBOT and who are the right candidates financially speaking, this will be part of the whole assessment.
I want to donate, but will I get a tax receipt for my donation?
If you wish to support the Treatment for Children Program and wish to have a tax receipt, we suggest you make your donation payable to the “Coquitlam Foundation: Michael Coss Brain Injury FUND”.
We have created the Michael Coss Brain Injury FUND, in partnership with the Coquitlam Foundation (which is a registered charity) specifically so that donations go to a registered charity and thus the Coquitlam Foundation can issue a tax receipt for any donations over $20 (Canadian fund).
The Michael Coss Brain Injury Foundation is just as official (we are registered as a society under the Society Act of British Columbia) but we have not yet received charitable status with the Canada Revenue Agency. However, through our partnership with the Coquitlam Foundation, donors to the “Coquitlam Foundation: Michael Coss Brain Injury FUND” may receive tax receipts.
Given the time and cost required to pursue registered charitable status, we have found that working with the experts at our local community foundation lets us focus on helping children. It is for just this reason that many communities start community foundations such as the Coquitlam Foundation! The Coquitlam Foundation is our local community foundation and part of the Community Foundations of Canada. For more information about the Coquitlam Foundation, please visit their website (www.coquitlamfoundation.com).
What is the business number for the Michael Coss Brain Injury Foundation?
MCBI Foundation Business number: 80170 0295 BC0001
News Articles written about Michael Coss
There are many articles written about Michael Coss that you may find on the internet by searching for
“Michael Coss + brain injury”. Headline Magazine and local newspapers; Langley Advance, The NOW, The Province, Tri-City News,SNAP’d Coquitlam and the Vancouver Sun have all carried articles through the years of Michael’s inspirational journey post-accident. Since 2013, articles may also be found regarding Michael’s help in launching the ANYTHING’s POSSIBLE Trail as part of the annual diversity fundraiser THE COQUITLAM CRUNCH DIVERSITY CHALLENGE. Watch our News & Events section for more information on this annual, affordable, accessible event in Coquitlam, British Columbia.