VIP Services, located at 811 E. Geneva Street in Elkhorn, will observe Disabled Authors' Day at 1pm on Monday, October 2nd. The event is open to the public and will include refreshments.
Disabled Authors' Day is a national day of awareness created by disability rights advocates to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of authors who have overcome their disabilities to publish works of literature. Thomas Hapka, a traumatic brain injury survivor and VIP staff member, will be the featured speaker at the VIP event.
Hapka recently published a book – “Life Beyond Brain Injury: A Survivor’s Guide” – that chronicles his brain injury journey and offers useful tips and resources for fellow survivors and those caring for them.
"This is the book my family and I needed when I was injured," Hapka said in a statement at the Elkhorn Public Library. "There were so many times when I was battling major complications and we had no idea what type of help I needed or where to find it. I hope my book will answer at least some of these questions and make the recovery process easier for others."
Hapka sustained his brain injury shortly after graduating from UW-Whitewater. He suffered a torn artery in his neck during a chiropractic appointment and went more than two days without medical care after being misdiagnosed twice at the emergency room. Hapka never received a legal settlement, and he hopes the sales of his book will raise funds for his ongoing medical care and help save his home.
Craig Poshepny, Executive Director of VIP Services, spoke of Hapka's story at VIP last week.
“VIP is honored to celebrate Disabled Authors' Day with Tom and raise awareness about his accomplishments as an author and a brain injury survivor," Poshepny said. "Tom is a perfect example of what individuals with disabilities can do when they are given an opportunity, and VIP remains committed to helping TBI survivors achieve their goals and connect with the community."
Hapka said he is grateful to Poshepny and VIP for hiring him last year when many other employers rejected him because of his brain injury.
"My work history is obviously broken because of my injury, I can only work part-time due to ongoing TBI complications, and I sometimes need workplace accommodations," Hapka explained. "Every employer I contacted saw these as insurmountable barriers and they wouldn't even consider hiring me. Craig and VIP, however, saw potential in me and I now have a rewarding part-time role where I get to use my communications skills and make a difference for adults with disabilities."
VIP's Authors' Day event will include a roughly 30-minute presentation by Hapka about his story and his book, after which he will open the floor for questions. Copies of Hapka's book will be available for sale at the event and there will be a book signing after his presentation.
Those interested in learning more about VIP Services are encouraged to visit vipservices-inc.org for details.