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 in December 2007, 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 with a double major of music and religion, releasing three albums of 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 newest release, Hope Survives. This album, entirely written by Cristabelle, 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. In 2016 she spoke at the Brain Injury Association of Rhode Island Annual Conference, the Brain Injury Network of North Dakota Annual Conference, and the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania Annual Conference. For 2017, she’s already scheduled to speak and sing at the Mayo Clinic Brain Injury Conference, the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania, and Penn Medicine Mind Your Brain Conference.
Hope Survives, released on February 24, 2017, kicks off National Brain Injury Awareness Month (March). Cristabelle is spending the entire month of March on the Hope Survives Tour, sharing her story and music at brain injury support groups, rehab centers, and concerts across the eastern US. Hope Survives is her fourth release, following her debut EP Harmony in 2011, I Am Yours in 2013, and a two part Christmas album entitled All Is Calm – All Is Bright in 2015.
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