Six years ago, Kel Mabatah sustained a traumatic brain injury after being brutally attacked while in Nigeria. Mabatah was in a coma for nearly a week, and the incident left him completely paralyzed on his right side and unable to speak. After undergoing emergency surgery in Nigeria, he returned to Houston and was admitted to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. Three months after his admission, he transferred to TIRR Memorial Hermann where he had to relearn how to walk, speak and do many tasks he was no longer able to do. Over the last six years, Mabatah has worked relentlessly on his rehabilitation. During his recovery, he joined the TIRR Memorial Hermann Challenge Program and the TIRR Memorial Hermann Strength Unlimited Program. His journey inspired him to establish the Kel Strong Foundation in an effort to help others. This is his story of why he decided to give back:
Last year on the 5-year anniversary of my traumatic brain injury, I was encouraged by two high school friends to start my own foundation. The ‘Kel Strong’ Mabatah is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Our mission is to help create a better future for those impacted by traumatic brain injuries through financial support for treatment and services on their journey to recovery. There are three main reasons why I decided to start my foundation.
One, I wanted to give back to TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation, one of the best rehabilitation places in the country, where I was in both inpatient and outpatient rehab and where I saw countless miracles happen, including my own.
Two, to assist others who want to get better and are willing to work hard like me. The foundation will offer assistance when patients are denied or have exhausted covered visits, have insurance limits or have no access to other funding.
Three, I felt that after five years I was finally ready to slowly move forward with my new life and fulfill my purpose now that I had been given a second chance. In partnership with TIRR Memorial Hermann and The Memorial Hermann Foundation, we established The ‘Kel Strong’ Scholarship. The scholarship will allow a recipient, chosen by a TIRR committee, the opportunity to receive additional therapy sessions. This past year, we awarded our first scholarship to a very deserving candidate. My foundation couldn’t be more happy and proud to play a small part in this individual’s recovery journey, and help him get back to being a mechanic, his true passion in life. This is just the beginning. The ‘Kel Strong’ Mabatah Foundation plans to continue helping many more traumatic brain injury survivors in the near future.