Event to Honor Culver City Residents Katherine and Jay Wolf for Inspiring Story of Her Survival Following Traumatic Brain Injury
Proceeds to Benefit Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation
POMONA, Calif. – Casa Colina is welcoming U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' husband Captain Mark Kelly as a special guest presenter and honoring traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor Katherine Wolf, and her husband Jay Wolf at its
Tribute to Courage on Saturday, February 25th at Pacific Palms Hotel & Conference Center in Industry Hills. Proceeds from the gala black tie event will benefit Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation's programs and services including its nationally renowned Brain Injury Program.
The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. and it is then followed by dinner, dancing and live entertainment at 7 p.m. Major sponsors are invited to attend a VIP reception immediately following the event to meet Captain Kelly and the Wolfs. Captain Kelly will also be signing copies of the couple's memoir,Gabby.
Katherine and Jay Wolf were college sweethearts. After marrying at the age of 22, the young couple lived an idyllic life by the beach in Malibu. He studied law at Pepperdine; she began modeling and acting. They had a baby boy. On April 21, 2008, the unthinkable happened. While their son napped peacefully in his crib, Katherine collapsed on the kitchen floor as she was making lunch. Jay arrived home and found his young wife in distress. He called 911. She was rushed to UCLA Medical Center where doctors discovered she had massive bleeding in her brain caused by a congenital brain defect – an arteriovenous malformation (AVM).
Her doctors performed 16 hours of intricate brain surgery to save her life. They removed 60% of her cerebellum. Thankfully, Katherine's cognition and mental faculties were still intact. Yet her motor control was severely affected and the right side of her face was paralyzed. She spent 40 days in intensive care at UCLA, then another three months in its neuro-acute rehab unit before she was transferred to Casa Colina's Transitional Living Center for its intensive rehabilitation program. Jay moved into one of the Casa Colina homes adjacent to the campus with their son, so he could be there to attend her therapy sessions and support her.
"We don't have any expectations. We hold onto things very lightly and just go with the flow because we know how quickly things can change," explained Jay. "All the more reason to celebrate the time we have together with our families, those milestones and happy, small moments."
The Tribute to Courage event also hits extremely close to home for Captain Kelly, whose wife and U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords suffered a TBI as the result of an assassination attempt on January 8, 2011. They share similar challenges as the Wolfs that are described in their best-selling memoir,
Gabby, in which the couple shares with the world their story of hope and resilience.
"I'm very pleased that I'll be able to be at Casa Colina's Tribute to Courage on Saturday, February 25th. I'll be able to share with you some of my experiences both as a pilot and astronaut, and as a husband and care-giver," said Captain Kelly. "As much of a challenge and honor that is was to be the Commander of the Space Shuttle Endeavour on its final flight to the Space Station, it is much more of a challenging and humbling experience to see the resilience and determination of my wife, Gabrielle Giffords, as she fights her way back to reclaim her life. I also look forward to hearing the story of Katherine and Jay Wolf, and being with you all to celebrate what rehabilitation can achieve to help people regain their spirit and their lives."
Mark Kelly is an American astronaut, retired US Navy Captain, best-selling author, and an experienced naval aviator who flew combat missions during the Gulf War. The winner of many awards, including the Legion of Merit, two Defense Superior Service Medals and two Distinguished Flying Crosses, Kelly was selected as an astronaut in 1996. He flew his first of four missions in 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, the same space shuttle that he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. He has also commanded Space Shuttle
Discovery and is one of only two individuals who have visited the International Space Station on four different occasions.
"We are truly inspired by the incredible courage, commitment and dedication demonstrated by Katherine and Jay Wolf as well as Captain Mark Kelly," said Dr. Felice L. Loverso, President and CEO of Casa Colina. "It is a privilege for Casa Colina to honor them at the Tribute to Courage because they exemplify the courage it takes to confront and overcome the tremendous obstacles that they were forced to face. By successfully engaging in the rehabilitation process they have turned tragedy into opportunity by increasing awareness about traumatic brain injury."
In addition to the Tribute to Courage presentation, those in attendance will be treated to dinner, dancing, and live entertainment. Major sponsors are invited to attend a VIP reception immediately following the event to meet Captain Kelly and the Wolfs. Captain Kelly will also be signing copies of the couple's memoir,
For more information on the event, to donate, or become a sponsor, please contact Casa Colina Foundation at (909) 596-7733 Ext. 2223.