Ringwood resident to cycle across the country to raise awareness of traumatic brain injury

Source: North Jersey.com
For Ringwood resident and Lakeland Regional High School grad Daniel Mollino, his impending cross-country bike ride represents his own journey from traumatic brain injury (TBI) to triumph…
On Aug. 11, 2010, while making repairs to some overhead lines, Mollino fell 20 feet from the top of a telephone pole…Responders thought he would not survive the trip to Hackensack University Medical Center…Doctors made the decision to remove a portion of his skull to alleviate his internal cranial pressure and hopefully save his life. Since the brain continued to swell over five days, doctors were not optimistic…
Mollino was placed in a drug-induced coma to keep him calm and allow his body to heal…Two weeks after the accident, he was out of the coma…He knew his name, who his loved ones were (like his wife Amber and his aunt Michelle), but he still had lapses in memory and suffered from confusion…(A) decision was made to transfer Mollino to the Kessler Rehabilitation Center in West Orange…
He relearned basic skills such as how to walk and talk, and how to manage pain. Then began intensive therapy that would continue for over a year and a half to rebuild his cognitive function…(His) long-term effects from his TBI include double vision, loss of hearing, adjustments of a shunt placed in his head, continuous pain, vertigo, daytime fatigue and issues with both his short- and long-term memory. On bad days, he requires the use of his walking cane.
He knew…(being) a skydiver and scuba diver…would no longer be a possibility. But “I was determined to get back one of my past joys, and that was cycling,” he says…Upon some advice to try therapeutic horseback riding, Mollino went to North Jersey Equestrian Center in Pompton Plains…Within just three weeks, Mollino was able to get back on his bike…”When I’m on my bike, everything disappears, and I’m in a peaceful state,” he says…
As Mollino became comfortable cycling long distances again…he decided he wanted to pursue his cross-country bike journey, TBI to Victory, to raise awareness of brain injury and raise funds for the Kessler Foundation…

Mollino plans to set out during the last week of March (which is National Brain Injury Awareness Month) on a trek from New Jersey to San Francisco. He intends to return to Ringwood on Aug. 11, 2015 – five years to the day from when his life almost ended.

But first, he will head to Washington, D.C. on March 18 for Brain Injury Awareness Day, where he has a meeting set with Congressman Bill Pascrell, and is also working to schedule meetings with Sen. Cory Booker and Congressman Scott Garrett. He aims to “point to some of the systems I saw fail that need repair for the 1.7 million who suffer a traumatic brain injury a year in the U.S.” While Mollino is permanently disabled and receives worker’s compensation, he was denied Social Security Disability Insurance.
More information is available at Molino’s site TBItoVictory.com. Also, a fundraising site for Kessler has been set up, accepting donations through the end of Mollino’s ride. And there is a GoFundMe crowd-sourcing page for help with the ride’s expenses.
“My ride is me getting back something of my previous life — the ride is as much for me as it is for Kessler in proving one can overcome the worst,” Mollino says. “Disabled doesn’t mean you have to sit at home and live in despair.”

More Discoveries About the Potential of Medical Marijuana (Part 2)
Featured Video: Visiting Nurse Association Health Group