In 2017, Brianna Atkins began working with Oglethorpe Inc. as we started the expansion project to Las Vegas. She is now the Operations Director at the Vance Johnson Recovery Center.
At three months old, she was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma and complications from the tumor caused irreversible damage to her left leg. This led her to spending a good portion of her childhood in and out of the hospital having surgeries aimed at relieving pain, one of which led to an even longer stay for Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Her experiences as a child have molded her into the person she today, with a focus on giving back to the community. For the past 24 years, she has returned to the hospital where she was treated around the holiday season to spread joy through the Bring Joy to the Children Foundation. As she studied to get her degree in psychology, she was an Advanced EMT on Saint Michael’s Fire and Rescue and became a volunteer with Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, Vermont’s camp for children with cancer. Whether the root of the pain is addiction, disease, or any other seemingly unbearable life circumstance, her passion is helping others. This passion is what led her to pursue her career in mental health and addiction with Oglethorpe Inc.
Early in her undergraduate years at St. Michaels College, she read an excerpt on how the study of psychology can end suffering. As an adult, she has had to teach herself to manage pain in multiple ways. Most recently, she got involved with adaptive sports. She is the Treasurer of the Las Vegas Wheelchair Basketball Foundation, and she also plays sled hockey on the USA National Women’s Development Team and the Vegas Golden Knights.
She has found that the key factor in managing pain and suffering is having a solid community or team for support. That is exactly what we do at the Vance Johnson Recovery Center. We aim to strengthen and build our community of both staff and clients, to provide the most optimal opportunity for successful recovery.