On March 16, 2005, Timothy C. "Timbo" McWilliams, Jr., a beloved son, brother, family member and friend, passed away at the age of 27 from complications related to a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that he had sustained three years earlier. During his life, and especially throughout his rehabilitation and recovery, Tim exemplified a boundless will to live and an innate ability to positively affect those around him. As Tim healed from TBI, his family worked through his recovery to heal as well. With their experience in mind, the McWilliams family created this foundation to help patients and families going through similar recovery from TBI.
The Timothy C. McWilliams, Jr. Foundation is a 501c3 organization dedicated to helping victims of Traumatic Brain Injury through a two-pronged giving strategy:
The Foundation was awarded the 2008 Sarah and James Brady Award for Public Service for leadership in enhancing services needed by people with TBI throughout New Jersey. In addition, Debbie McWilliams was a 2009 recipient of a Jefferson Award in recognition of her local community service. Founded in 1972 by Sam Beard, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Senator Robert Taft, Jr., this award honors individuals for local and national public and community service.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, TBI occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain - when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. Symptoms of TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain. TBI can lead to problems with balance and coordination, loss of hearing, vision or speech, fatigue, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, depression, impulsivity and impaired judgment.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1.4 million people in the United States suffer from TBI each year and that 5.3 million Americans currently have a long-term or lifelong need for help to perform activities of daily living as a result of a TBI. According to Department of Defense statistics, nearly half of all injuries suffered by U.S. servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan include some form of TBI. A recent study found that nearly 320,000 U.S. military personnel who have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan reported a probable traumatic brain injury during deployment.