Bob Woodruff speaks with local traumatic brain injury survivors, caregivers

Published: Nov. 16, 2019 at 10:21 PM EST
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The Toledo area welcomed a special guest Saturday. ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff spent the evening at a local traumatic brain injury resource center.

For Bob Woodruff, it's been 13 years since his life changed as he says "in an instant."

While covering the war in Iraq, a bomb exploded that nearly killed him. Now, he lives with a traumatic brain injury and shares his story with others also dealing with a TBI.

Two years ago his wife, Lee, came to town to share their family's experience at the

in Sylvania Township.

Saturday, it was Bob's turn.

But his story wasn't the only inspiring one that was told.

Jackie Moore's life was forever changed in 2011 after a bad car wreck left her with a traumatic brain injury.

"I lost the ability to see, most of my ability to speak. I slept all the time. I still have difficulty reading, counting money," said Moore.

She became completely dependent on her husband and says she quickly realized the lack of help for those impacted by a TBI.

That inspired the Moores in 2015 to co-found the nonprofit Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Center to provide free services like therapy and memory classes to survivors and caregivers.

"We never become the same person we were. We never recover 100 percent. Recovery will be ongoing for all of our lives," said Moore.

That's a sentiment Bob Woodruff echos.

"You have to settle with yourself that you're not going to be exactly the same, but the key is to try to find something to replace it — to find a different path," said Woodruff.

And the

which helps wounded veterans became that new fulfilling path for him.

"If there's something that maybe was good about getting blown up was our ability to start that foundation," said Woodruff.

The Michigan native spent Saturday evening in Sylvania Township at the center, signing books and sharing his remarkable recovery story.

In 2006 while Woodruff was covering the war in Iraq, a roadside bomb exploded. That sent him into a coma for more than a month.

"I just remember just kind of seeing my body floating underneath me and then suddenly I woke up for about a minute and I told my team inside ... I said, I asked them if I'm alive and they said you're alive ... and that's the last thing I remembered until I woke up 36 days later," said Woodruff.

Woodruff shared that after an unexpected tragedy like that, the focus is often on the person injured, but in many ways the families and caregivers need just as much love and help.

"Without them I'm not sure what would be happening. I think the recovery path would not be very steep," said Woodruff.

Woodruff feels grateful to be alive. His wife, Lee, and his four children motivated him to heal because like the title of his book, all of their lives changed "in an instant."

That's something everyone at the local resource center can relate to.