For About and By Caregivers

Subscribe to our bi-monthly publication Today's Caregiver magazine
  + Larger Font | - Smaller Font

Share This Article

An Interview with Lee Woodruff  (Page 2 of 3)

A Partner in Care
An Interview with Lee Woodruff 

GB:  How did humor get you through those early days right after Bob was injured?

LW:  We laughed.  We had lots of jokes and we called him “half head.”  He would struggle for words and at certain times we would laugh about some of those words. Towels were “cuddles” and thumbs were “dunkles” and he just had a whole host of things when he couldn’t come up with the word in the early days. He would make the word up himself and we just learned to laugh about that.  It was cute and it was funny and it was endearing and we all learned that if we laughed, it just sort of felt better. We used humor in lots of different ways as families do, because I think all families have their own brands of humor, and it was very cathartic.

GB:  When we host our Fearless Caregiver conferences, we talk about humor. There might be 10 or 15 really funny stories that only caregivers will understand, like your story about Bob with “cuddles” and some things my grandfather would say to my mom.

LW:  Right, and it is interesting, too. Bob was roasted the other night down in Washington for the annual spina bifida event and everybody was so afraid to roast him. Here is a guy with a brain injury who was doing a service to his country in Iraq and how are we going to roast this guy?  Everybody sort of touched him with kid gloves until I got up there and said, “Okay, you guys are weak.” I just started telling some of the funny stories and the things that we called him, the jokes that we had, and you could see people at first be a little nervous like, Should I laugh at this?  Of course, you should laugh and, ultimately, you get the whole room howling. But it is kind of a journey for people who haven’t necessarily been there to understand that you have to keep laughing through life.  You have to keep laughing through the absolute worst of life because, otherwise, what will you have to spur you on to keep surviving?

GB:  You recently held your first major fundraiser, The Standup for Heroes Gala.  How did that go?

LW:  We raised $2.5 million and then another almost $5 million in an online auction. It was a chance to show the human cost of the war, because you don’t run into the wounded on the streets of New York the way you might in Washington, for example.  I think it made everybody feel pride in their country and a sense of rallying around the wounded and wanting to support them; and people got a chance to talk to them.  It was just an all-around fabulous night.

GB:  You, Bob and your family really put a spotlight on the subject of brain injury. Because of your dedication, I am seeing more and more information, support and conversation about people with traumatic brain injury.


  1 2 3


Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Youtube Follow us on Pinterest Google Plus