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Great Bend Pilots proclamation signing with Mayor for Brain Awareness Week
From left: Carol Hawk, Daniel Watson, Sharon Mauler, Barbara Watson, President Rhonda Knudson with Mayor Cody Schmidt, Marty Aldrich, Renee Johnson, Ruthann Fredrick, Nancy Sundahl

Every March, members of the Great Bend Pilot Club meet with the Mayor for the signing of the Brain Awareness Week (BAW) proclamation. Brain Awareness Week is March 15-21, the 25th year for uniting the efforts of partner organizations worldwide in a celebration of the brain for people of all ages. Efforts are made to raise consciousness and awareness on issues about brain safety, injury prevention, support for brain science, and brain related diseases, through social media campaigns; community proclamations; and articles.  

Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is a global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. The Great Bend Pilot Club and Pilot International are considered partner and outreach organizations. The Great Bend Pilot club’s mission is to encourage brain safety and health, realizing the need to teach brain injury prevention to people of all ages, in recent years Pilot International has expanded the organizations programs to include young people and seniors.  

Brain Awareness Week was founded by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives. BAW began its Mission in 1996 as a modest effort involving just 160 organizations in the United States. This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic a limited number of Pilot club members met with Mayor Cody Schmidt for the Proclamation signing, masked of course as this is a sign of the times.  

With the pandemic and the isolation and decrease in average life span from national COVID deaths, the rules for brain health and aging are changing. Many factors influence our quality of life. Some of the changes to body and mind that are normally associated with aging and not the pandemic and disease are not considered the old normal at all. COVID-19 has made brain health and function a new focus for brain researchers. 

COVID-19 as an illness is being medically evaluated and treated along with the isolation and incidences of depression being suffered by all ages. Yet depression, a brain-based illness that can be successfully treated in most people, is often not recognized or treated properly. Many chronic health disorders, such as heart disease and high blood pressure, as well as many of the new COVID-19 illness affects can cause changes in mental functioning.

Brain Awareness Week is one of the club’s greatest successes, bringing together all sorts of groups and entities and have them cooperate to do community and public outreach for raised awareness on all brain related issues.