If there is one thing you need to know, it’s this: Cristabelle Braden offers more than music; she offers inspiration, hope, and sincerity. Her life is a miraculous testimony of courage and strength, described perfectly by the title of her new album – Hope Survives.
On a Sunday evening as a young teen, Cristabelle attended her youth group as she did every week. But this was no ordinary night at youth group: as a result of a running game accident, Cristabelle hit her head off a cement wall and onto the floor. The swelling in her brain caused a traumatic brain injury and in one instant her life was changed forever. As other teenagers were learning how to drive, having sleepovers, and going to the mall, Cristabelle was just trying to get through each day while suffering from memory loss, headaches, overstimulation, fatigue, and more. She spent years in rehabilitation therapy and spent time away from school. Cristabelle was told by her doctors that she may never graduate high school, be independent from her parents, or be able to go away to college – yet she has grown and overcome barriers that were never dreamed possible, including graduating from college, writing and releasing original music, and touring the country as a singer and speaker on brain injury.
During the process of brain injury rehabilitation, music began to take shape in her life and heart. Although she had never written a song before her brain injury, during the first month afterwards songs started to pour out of her. Although she continued to struggle with simple daily tasks, her ability to create music flourished; and most notably, her ability to write beautifully poignant lyrics despite word-finding issues in daily conversation. Within the first few years, she had written hundreds of songs. It soon became clear to all who knew Cristabelle that her music was something meant to be shared.
The hope Cristabelle lives out each day shines through on stage and off, as she shares her emotional journey with a sweet sincerity and a wisdom far beyond her years. This clearly comes through in her songwriting. Her music tells her story through songs narrating the struggle of finding hope through the darkest times, never giving up, and continuing to fight despite the most difficult of circumstances.
Through her journey of recovery, Cristabelle grew more and more passionate about TBI support and awareness, and now has become very active as an advocate for brain injury. The goal of her organization “Hope After Head Injury” is to provide a support system which focuses on the emotional aspect on healing from brain injury. Cristabelle effectively uses social media to reach out to brain injury survivors and caregivers through an active online support group, weekly live video chats, and posts encouraging the community to keep going through the daily struggles of brain injury.
One of her videos entitled “You Look Fine: The Real Life Struggle of an Invisible Injury” went viral on Facebook and now has over 75,000 views (and counting). This led to her being invited to speak at brain injury conferences across the nation. She has given the keynote address at the Mayo Clinic Brain Injury Conference, and multiple statewide Brain Injury Association of America conferences, including Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Rhode Island, and North Dakota, among others.
Having a traumatic brain injury is not an easy road, but the knowledge that God has a plan for her life has empowered her to overcome adversity.Her hope and prayer is that she can impact the lives of others, whether it be through a lyric, melody, or a simple word of encouragement. Cristabelle has come a very long way and is now a focused young woman with a simple desire to share a message of hope wherever she goes.
For more information and tour dates, visit cristabellebraden.com. For more about Cristabelle’s work with brain injury, visit hopeafterheadinjury.com