(Rear, from left) Greg Goldberg, activity co-ordinator with Mary Cridge Manor is joined by Alicia Ackerman, Calder McCormick, Fionna Lambert, Sam Trach, Paul Dudd (front left) and Pat Day, co-creators of a word jumble that will run in 600 newspapers across North America, May 8. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Brain injury survivors in Victoria create word puzzle for international audience

Group-designed original word jumble set to run in 600 newspapers across North America

The word jumble is the most recognizable scrambled word game in the world, but for survivors of brain injuries, it helps them recognize a lot more than letters on a page.

Word puzzles are an oft-used therapy for residents of Mary Cridge Manor, a live-in support centre in Victoria for those working to regain their independence after recovering from injuries that have impacted their cognitive skills.

On May 8, readers of 600 newspapers across North America will challenge themselves to a word jumble designed by the group, thanks to wordmaster David L. Hoyt. The nationally syndicated “mastermind” and inventor of the word jumble reached out to Greg Goldberg, activity co-ordinator at Mary Cridge.

“I am always looking for ways to re-stock their library of lost words,” Goldberg says. “It’s my job to get them involved in social work, interactivity with the community and giving back.”

“Everyone is really excited,” he says of the residents, who also received a copy of the Giant Word Winder from Hoyt who created the 9×9 floor game. The group takes the puzzle around the city to play with seniors in retirement homes and elementary school students.

“Brain injury survivors need a place to be social,” Goldberg explains. “They always think outside the box, because they don’t think rationally. They’re very uninhibited – one of the results of brain injury.”

The self created word jumbles have vastly improved their abilities to use language again, says Goldberg, who explains the exercise is all about formulating different strategies on how to come up with different words.

The group meets over coffee to talk politics and everyday life, brainstorming fun puns. “The answer [to a word jumble] is always a pun, and so we come up with the answer first,” he says. “It’s a different way to think about words and humour is a really big part of it.”

Twenty years ago, Goldberg was in Ontario, driving to his job teaching high school English when he was struck by a gravel truck. The accident left him in a coma, and took him the better part of a decade to recover from.

Seven years into his position at Mary Cridge, he says it’s incredibly rewarding to watch the progress of the centre’s residents.

“I lost so much and I just know how fragile life is,” he says. “For me, it’s giving back.”

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

WINE NOTES: From Down Under cab sauv value to a glorious Tuscany altesino

Monday wine connoiseur Robert Moyes weighs in on vintages from both hemispheres

Arkells rallying around their fans

Canada’s biggest band (for now) looks to outdo their last show in Victoria

DANCING ANYONE? Museum puts a swing into your step

Royal BC Museum hosting its next adult-only Night Shift event, a swing dance/mixer

Getting OUT with Intrepid Theatre

OUTstages queer theatre festival features packed week of entertainment for fifth anniversary

Vic High theatre staging musical class struggle tale

Cry Baby a love story and social commentary piece presented with campy style

VIDEO: RBCM’s Wonder Sunday brings fossils into focus

Every Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. kids learn about science and history through interactive activities

B.C. animators land Oscar nominations

‘Animal Behaviour’ by Vancouver’s David Fine and Alison Snowden among several Canadians on the short list

Hollywood announces 2019 Oscar nominations

Netflix has scored its first best picture nomination, something the streaming giant has dearly sought

Reflections of Ladysmith: The Art of Michael Dean

Work, place and people are inseparable for Vancouver Island painter

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Sidney Museum’s Lego Exhibition larger than ever

Hundreds of thousands of pieces on display in creations big and small, now through March 31

2019 Canadian Whisky Awards’ big winners announced

Awards held in conjunction with Victoria Whisky Festival

Netflix rejects request to remove Lac-Megantic images from ‘Bird Box’

At least two shows on Netflix’s Canadian platform briefly use actual footage of the 2013 tragedy

Most Read