3 January 2014

Happy New Year!  Today we mark the anniversary of Conrad’s accident – the beginning that came so close to marking the end. Conrad not only survived, but continues to thrive, as those who interact with him can attest.

In our journey to recovery, we have grown to understand the complexity of Conrad’s condition.  Although I never thought it was an easy fix, I am learning more about the intricate workings of the brain. The more I learn, the more I am grounded that we have so much more to learn. Damage sustained is not easily recovered, however researchers are discovering more ways to harness the vast potential of the brain to heal. This prospect breeds hope and warrants investment.

In 2014, we will continue efforts to advance the medical understanding of Anoxic Brain Injury (ABI).  We have several treatment options that show strong potential and we plan to launch clinical studies to formally measure their impact.  ABI is an understudied condition and families are still given little hope and limited guidance. I aim to continue to find partners to help me change that.

The book The Impossible Will Take a Little While provides stories from leaders who have tackled obstacles to achieve what were deemed impossible goals.  The common denominator is hope.

Hope is a dimensional of the soul… It is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart.       Vaclav Havel –

I must admit that at times, holding the beacon of hope can take its toll.  But divine intervention has a way of stepping in to rejuvenate the cause.  Please read the story of how my family received this gift of renewal from a family near and dear to San Antonio’s heart:

The Shops at La Cantera produce a beautiful event called Holiday Mingle and Jingle – a celebration benefiting local charities.  Conrad Smiles, the not for profit I founded to promote research on Anoxic Brain Injury, was selected for 2013.  The organization with most attendance at the event is awarded $1000.  It was a cold night in San Antonio standards.  So thank you to all that braved the weather.

One of the other not for profits honored was Viola’s Huge Heart Foundation established by the Barrios family in memory of their mother, Viola Barrios, the founder of Los Barrios Restaurant. Louis Barrios and Diana Barrios-Trevino represented the organization that evening. Louis spent a lot of time with Conrad and my parents.  He shared the story of his mother’s tragic accident and expressed how the experience rallied his family to continue her work of enabling others to help themselves.  Louis spoke softly to Conrad and you did not have to hear the words to be warmed by the interaction.  Conrad heard and understood.

At the close of the event, Michelle, the representive of the Shops at La Cantera informed me that Conrad had won the additional $1000 for most attendance by one ticket.  It turns out that the Barrios family had purchased this winning ticket.  They were so touched by Conrad’s story that they were willing to forego the prize.  They held true to their mission to help those who face insurmountable obstacles in life, by providing hope.  Please join me in thanking the Barrios Family.


We dedicate our efforts in 2014 to Viola’s huge heart. We will stay oriented to our hearts’ mission of hope.  And we plan to take science with us!

Thank you for remaining on the journey with us.





  1. Meriam's Gravatar Meriam
    January 6, 2014    

    Thank you for sharing so transparently, Liz. Your family’s journey is a long and difficult one, to say the least, but I am so grateful that you reconnected with HOPE this season. And thank you for sharing the lovely story of the Barrios family’s choice to give instead of receive. You and your dear family are loved!

  2. Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
    January 6, 2014    

    I feel so blessed to have been a part of this extraordinary night of hope and receiving the giving heart of our dear friends, the Barrios’. Thanks Louis and Diana for helping me delivery a beautiful message of hope to Conrad and the Tullis Family!

    Happy New Year to all!!
    Many Belssings,

  3. Toni's Gravatar Toni
    January 3, 2014    

    Happy New Year to you all Liz!

    I love reading your updates and seeing Conrad’s beautiful face. Hope is the answer to many, if not all things, where there is a challenge. Without hope, we are lost. Hope is also the cornerstone for all miracles along with faith. You are in my prayers and thoughts always!

    Love to you and your beautiful family!!

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