BIST Heroes 5K Dynamic Duo: Charles Gluckstein and his Sidekick Duke

Are you ready, heroes? Meet Charles Gluckstein – he says it’s his sidekick Duke who brings him out to the BIST Heroes 5K Run, Walk or Roll every year – but we’re pretty sure nothing on Earth could keep this ABI hero away from our 5K!

5K Poster 2017
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Tell us a bit about your work:

It is always heart wrenching, yet inspiring, to meet and work with individuals who have survived trauma including brain injuries. Most have a great will to persevere no matter the barrier. As a youngster my father exposed me to the places such as Variety Village and the Active Living Alliance where I could volunteer as a photographer for their special events and was amazed at the accomplishments and great spirit of individuals who had suffered from physical and mental challenges.

Once becoming a lawyer I immediately volunteered as a Director of the former BIST. Our firm [Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers] has always supported the Ontario Brain Injury Association of which my father was a founding director and similar organizations. I’m very passionate about helping individuals living with brain injuries as they are the most vulnerable victims, and the ones who need the most help with their recovery and changes in their lifestyle.

Charles Gluckstein swims in a lake with his dog Duke
True ABI Heroes: Charles Glucksten and Duke

Why do you participate in the BIST 5K?

It’s Duke (my dog) who forces me to run the BIST 5K! He loves outdoor activities and being around people so he brings me along to drive him to the event. But in all seriousness, I participate in the BIST 5K event with my family because I believe it supports a great cause and one that is and has been close to our hearts.

What does being a hero of brain injury mean to you?

To me, a hero of brain injury is someone who has sustained an injury and is working hard every day to overcome the challenges they face, and tries every day to be better than they were the day before. I try to help those with brain injuries to receive financial, moral and medical support, but I am by no means the hero, they are.

What is your favorite part about race day?

My favorite part of race day is seeing everyone come together on an equal footing. You have brain injury survivors, community leaders and medical and legal professionals bringing their families to participate together towards the same goal. Once the suit and ties are off and the medical gowns are put away, the egos are put away as well. We are all there to have a good time and interact with one another, not as professionals, patients, referral sources, caregivers but instead as humans.

Jenn Bowler is a social worker in the Trauma Program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and is a member of the BIST 5K Run, Walk, & Roll Committee.


Mark Koning: how our dogs helped with my mom’s ABI recovery

Every animal lover knows pets play a very special role in our lives. This story by Mark Koning is the first in a series where Brain Injury Blog TO will explore the relationships we have with our animal companions, as ABI survivors and caregivers.


I am what you would call, ‘a dog person’. I believe dogs are awesome pets. Forget about man’s best friend, how about a valuable family member? Great ambassador, hero, protector, therapist and motivator.

Growing up, dogs were always around by means of relatives and / or friends. But me and my immediate family, we had no pets … well, we did have goldfish. It wasn’t until 1998 that Casey (a Dachshund, a.k.a. a wiener dog) was adopted into our clan when she was two-years-old. We sadly lost her to cancer ten years later. We now have Petey, (an American Staffordshire) almost ten-years of age, brought to us through the OSPCA in 2005.

Casey left her mark, and Petey has already made a similar impact as well. I refer to all of the above, but specifically to the ‘therapist and motivator’ role.

My mom sustained her brain injury in 2001. She had fallen and a blood clot formed, forever changing all of our lives. After successful surgery that removed the clot and allowed oxygen to flow once again, she remained in a coma for the better part of a month. When she came out of it she could barely move, she could not talk, and the overwhelming depression made any further recovery seem hopeless.

When the doctors heard about Casey, they not only allowed me and my sister to bring her for visits, they encouraged it. My mom lit up being reunited with Casey, the cuddling and licking kick started a whole new determination. When she returned home the inspirations continued as Casey would sit there and watch therapy nurses (speech, cognitive and physical) come in and work with my mom.

Petey has now taken over, and while my mom has come a long way, there is still a journey ahead which the dog will be right by her side in taking. He watches out for her, he slows her down when it is needed, and he helps her speech. No, he does not engage in conversation with her, (imagine what that would be like) but he patiently sits there and listens as she speaks (and organizes) her thoughts.

I was a dog person before my mom’s tragedy, and now I am a dog champion. As short as a canine’s life may be in comparison to ours, (a sad fact) they do their best, in spite of tragedy, to help ours continue and shine. It makes a dog’s value, priceless!

Do you love to brag about your pet? Enter our pet photo contest on Facebook! Tell us about the animal (s) in your life + what they mean to you!