ThinkFirst Canada Kicks Off Aviva Brain Day Across Canada

TORONTO, March 12 2009 – March hosts International Brain Awareness Week and ThinkFirst Canada is leading the charge in educating Canadians on how to prevent brain and spinal cord injuries. With traumatic brain injury as a leading cause of death for children in Canada, the national not-for-profit injury prevention organization is addressing this issue directly by teaching elementary students across the country how to prevent injury by using their brains to protect their bodies.

Children and youth make up 17 per cent of the Canadian population, but account for a staggering 30 per cent of all traumatic brain injuries seen in this country. Furthermore, research shows that 90 per cent of all injuries are predictable, preventable events. To promote brain awareness and the importance of injury prevention, hundreds of volunteer presenters will deliver Aviva Brain Day in grade five classrooms from coast-to-coast. These half-day, hands-on sessions teach students how their brains and spinal cords work, what happens when they are damaged and how they can protect themselves and their friends from injury. In addition to fun science experiments about the five senses, one of the most popular teaching tools used during Aviva Brain Day is the lifelike gelatin brain. Students are amazed to learn that their brains are as vulnerable and fragile as gelatin.

“Brain surgery is not the solution to brain injury. It’s important to remember that it’s prevention that’s the only cure. It only takes a moment to buckle your seatbelt or fit your bike helmet, but this could be a life-saving moment. The aim of ThinkFirst programs, like Aviva Brain Day, is to empower kids to think first,” says Dr. Charles Tator, neurosurgeon and Founder of ThinkFirst Canada. “Injury prevention education is essential, but it is also important that parents, teachers and coaches act as role models with children to reinforce these lessons day after day.”

As part of Aviva Brain Day, ThinkFirst Canada has also created a new brochure to help kids and their families choose the best helmet for their sport, called “Which Helmet for Which Activity”.

“Preventing up to 88 per cent of brain injuries, wearing a bike helmet is really like insurance for your brain,” said Robin Spencer, CEO of Aviva Canada, Brain Day’s lead corporate sponsor. “Aviva’s partnership with ThinkFirst is really a perfect fit for us – we’re both in the business of protecting the future.”

ThinkFirst Canada is endorsed by the Canadian Neurosurgical Society, the Canadian Association of Neuroscience Nurses, the Canadian Congress of Neurological Sciences, and the Canadian Spine Society. Brain Awareness Week has become a unique international partnership of more than 1,700 organizations in 57 countries. These organizations include scientific institutions, patient advocacy groups, universities, teaching hospitals, government agencies, service groups, K-12 schools, and affiliates. As Canada’s national brain and spinal cord injury prevention not-for-profit organization, ThinkFirst Canada remains passionate about delivering important information about brain and spinal cord function and injury prevention to children across the country.

To learn more about Aviva Brain Day workshops in your region or to download the ‘Which Helmet for Which Activity’ resource please visit

About Think First Canada

ThinkFirst Canada works to reduce traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries sustained by children and youth through education, advocacy and work with research partners. To learn more and to donate please visit

About Aviva Canada

Aviva Canada Inc. is one of the leading Property and Casualty insurance groups in Canada, providing home, automobile and business insurance to more than three million customers. Our group of companies has more than 3,300 employees, 40 locations and more than 3,000 independent broker partners. Aviva Canada products and services are delivered across the country under the following brands: Aviva, Aviva Pilot, Aviva Traders, Aviva Elite, Aviva Scottish & York and through S&Y Insurance Company. Aviva Canada Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc, the world’s fifth largest insurance group. Please visit our web site at and our innovative web tool at