BOARD OF DIRECTORS & ADVISORY COUNCIL
Janelle Breese Biagioni, RPC, MPCC
Founder & CEO
Janelle Breese Biagioni is a Registered Professional Counsellor and Master Practitioner in Clinical Counselling. She is the widow of Constable Gerry Breese. She specializes in traumatic life losses arising from a death or catastrophic injury.
The year before the life-altering loss of her husband, she had lost her brother (39), who sustained a brain hemorrhage. And two weeks before her husband died, one of her closest friends (43) who also suffered a brain injury three years prior, succumbed to a brain tumour. Within 18 months three of the most important people in her life were gone—all due to brain injuries.
Janelle has published seven books including A Change of Mind: One Family’s Journey through Brain Injury and Life Losses: Healing for a Broken Heart. Her vignettes are published in Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul and Chicken Soup for the Father & Daughter Soul. Janelle’s articles have also been published in the Grief Digest, Living with Loss, Headline and Brain Injury Journey magazines. Janelle also appeared in A Change of Mind; a documentary on the societal impact of brain injury.
Janelle resides in Victoria, BC. She is mother of Myriah and Dale and grandmother of Sampson, Atticus and Greyson.
It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Janelle’s husband, Myriah & Dale’s father, and our president, Lyle Biagioni, on March 1, 2022.
Lyle and Janelle were married for 29 years. He was a major supporter of her work in the brain injury community.
We will strive to continue on in his honor.
Dale Breese, BSW
Dale graduated from high school in Penticton in 1997. She went on to become a Nursing Unit Clerk where she worked in the Psychiatry Inpatient Unit and Day Hospital at Penticton Regional Hospital.
Dale relocated to Victoria, BC, where she entered the Practical Nursing Program at Camosun College and graduated in 2003.
Dale’s nursing background led her to serve as the Clinical Coordinator for the Victoria Fertility Clinic for four years. From 2008 – 2016, Dale served on the management team at Bayshore Health, first as their On Call Coordinator and then as Client Service Manager. She then worked with The Cridge Centre for the Family Brain Injury Services as both the Admin Manager and a Case Manager while pursuing additional education.
Dale recently graduated with her Bachelor of Social Work degree and is currently the FASD Keyworker with Island Métis. She is the youngest daughter of Cst. Gerald Breese and Janelle Breese Biagioni and mom of Greyson.
Matt grew up in the Westshore communities of Vancouver Island, spending his childhood in various ice arenas and baseball diamonds, deeply engaged in sport. After losing his father in an abrupt and tragic incident at the age of 7, Matt’s focus started to drift from the competitive nature of sport to a more inclusive desire to aid others who have endured such experiences. Losing his father at a young age and watching his mother with little option, other than to take charge of her 2 young children, had a profound affect on how Matt saw the world. Searching for answers, Matt found himself starting to understand and view music and creative expression in a different light. Using the power of mediums like radio, poetry and literature, Matt found a way to help dissect the experiences of losing his father and the mental health struggles that are so often associated with experiencing trauma at a young age.
Matts first experience with community based charitable non-profits came through his love of music and creativity. It was this love that led him to begin a career in community radio at the University of Victoria campus/community radio station CFUV 101.9fm.
After living out his time in Vancouver, Matt began to uncover a new direction for himself. Matt wishes to continue his work within the community and help in creating a lasting effect on his place he calls home.
Catherine (Cathy) works in the Chemistry Department at the University of Victoria and has volunteered for the Survive Strive Thrive (SST)Brain Injury Conference for four years after attending the conference and finding hope, something that had been lost since her husband, Ross, suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury in 2015.
Cathy was a committee member and presenter for the CGB Heads Together Think Tank, Real People Real Stories segment.
Cathy is the proud mom of Jocelyn, Michelle and Christine and Gigi to Harriet and Frederick.
Toni relocated from Texas to Canada in 2007 and two years later suffered a life-altering stroke. She struggled for years trying to navigate a system that she was unable to make sense of.
She is a peer supporter in the Victoria Brain Injury Society and earned well-deserved accolades for her role as a supervision in the Pacific Christian School Hot Lunch Program, which was previously operated by survivors of brain injury through The Cridge Centre for the Family.
Toni was committee member and presenter for the CGB Heads Together Think Tank, Real People Real Stories segment.
Toni has a teenage son, Matthew.
Myriah has spent the majority of her adult life working in the non-profit sector. She previously worked with the Victoria Women’s Transition House in the Fundraising Department. Myriah’s experience in running direct mail campaigns, grant writing, social media marketing and public speaking have been invaluable in her non-profit career.
Myriah is active in her community with plenty of experience on boards, one of which was the Western Communities Montessori Society where her youngest son attends school. Myriah resides in Victoria, BC, with her husband and two amazing boys, Sampson and Atticus. Myriah is the eldest daughter of Cst. Gerald Breese and Janelle Breese Biagioni.
Advisory Council Member
SIIÁM TŦE NE SĆÁLEĆ (My dear respected friends and relatives),
I wish to recognize and acknowledge the Lək̓ʷəŋən speaking people (Esquimalt and Songhees Nations) on whose traditional territories we work, play and live.
My traditional Salish name is TA LIAIS. This name was gifted to me through ceremony in my community in 2016. I carry my name in a way that honours my past Elders who carried it before me. My English name is Trena Black. I am a member of S,OEḰ (T’Sou~ke) Nation in the heart of Coast Salish territory. I also have Paa?čiid?atx (Pacheedaht) and Irish ancestry.
I have been teaching on Lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ territories since 1999 mostly in Indigenous Education. The focus of my work is sharing Indigenous knowledge. This is woven together with the social-emotional well-being of the learners. I believe that meaningful learning includes the mind, body and spirit.
I have a teaching degree from the University of Victoria in Education with a concentration in Science and a Master’s degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization. I love learning, educating and sharing knowledge so I created the website beingtsouke.com, where I share my affinity for my culture and languages.
‘SW’K’ALECEN IYES T’ALE’ (It makes my heart happy) to travel and experience the world. A few of my travel experiences include teaching in Japan and touring Europe as a S,OEḰ traditional dancer.
As an Indigenous educator and a trauma survivor I am honoured to walk beside the Heads Together and Traumatic Life Losses organizations in their incredible work. Together we are stronger and wiser in what we create.
“We are story. All of us. What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we’re here; you, me, us, together. When we can do that and we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship – we change the world.” Richard Wagamese, Ojibwe author
HÍSW̱ḴE SIÁM (Thank you)