After a two-year pandemic pause, the Michael T. Goulet Traumatic Brain Injury and Epilepsy Foundation returned to The Landing at Pine Point in Scarborough on March 18 with a 200-person gala that raised $30,000.

“It’s big and glamorous, and he had that sort of big personality,” said Michael’s mother, Lynda LeBlanc of Old Orchard Beach.

Michael T. Goulet was 13 when he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a snowmobile accident and developed a seizure disorder. When he died from complications of a grand mal seizure in 2010, he was a 20-year-old St. Joseph’s College psychology major who dreamed of helping others with brain injuries and epilepsy.

Over the past decade, the foundation established by his family has donated $20,000 for brain injury research based in Maine and $25,000 for scholarships for Maine college students living with brain injury or epilepsy. Over time, the foundation has focused most of its efforts where they think they have the greatest impact – properly fitting helmets for as many southern Maine youths as possible.

“We have given out 15,000 helmets in about 10 years,” said Brad Goulet, Michael’s father. “We don’t just hand you a helmet and wonder if it fits or if it is adjusted properly. We fit the helmet individually and we tell the parents Michael’s story. If the parents don’t wear helmets themselves, I talk about the risks to the family unit and particularly the personality challenges that happen with head injuries.”

Because Michael’s sister Candace married former professional hockey player John Laliberte, the foundation’s earliest fundraisers were celebrity hockey exhibitions. While the Love Your Brain slogan and helmet focus stuck beyond those first few years, the fundraising model shifted to a gala in 2015 with Michael’s other sister, Danielle Williams, as event planner.


“I get a lot of joy from this,” she said. “We charge $75 a ticket and want to be sure people have a glamorous evening.”

And they do. Guests, many of them in formal gowns and tuxes, dance to the Larry Williams Band, enjoy passed hors d’oeuvres and sweets from The Black Tie Co. and pose for photos on a candlelit balcony. This year, each person received a gift-wrapped wine glass etched with the Love Your Brain logo.

“Beyond all that, it’s such a powerful feeling knowing that we took our heartbreak and turned it into something that makes a real difference,” Williams said. “When I drop my kids off at school, it’s so cool seeing bikes lined on the racks with our helmets hanging off the handlebars. Or going roller skating at Happy Wheels and seeing all the Love Your Brain helmets. We even heard from the South Portland police when a child was hit by a car, was wearing a Love Your Brain helmet and sustained only minor injuries.”

Eighteen companies and organizations sponsored the gala, led by the University of New England’s Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences. Guests bid on 110 silent auction items and bought Love Your Brain sweatshirts and other merchandise.

“The helmet style is modern, and the Love Your Brain slogan is catchy,” said Josh Keough of Saco.

The foundation is awarding $4,500 to Hearts & Horses, a therapeutic riding center in Buxton, and has ordered 3,500 helmets to distribute this year. For more information, go to

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at

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