SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Born and raised in Saratoga Springs, AnneMarie Todd was in four car crashes from the time she was 19 until she turned 30. Each time, she suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Today, she uses a camera as her main coping mechanism. “My camera has been my third kidney basically since high school,” said Todd. “And it’s been my way I’ve documented through my life.”

Todd had her camera at her hip through all four crashes. Much like her photos, her injuries are sadly everlasting.

“I haven’t recovered from the brain injuries, they’re permanent,” Todd stressed. “It’s more a matter of my being aware of them, and knowing what the symptoms are, and working around them. Working with them.”

Todd told NEWS10 when she first got hurt, no one had any idea. “It wasn’t even a label or a medical diagnosis at the time,” she said. “It was much later that it was diagnosed. In 2002, it opened up an entirely brand-new world for me. And so, after a course of a bunch of years getting acclimated to it, I started to photo document.”

Her years of hard work paid off on Thursday. Karen Thomas, Director of Family Services for the Brain Injury Association of New York, presented Todd with the Silent Angel Award, saying her positive attitude is what makes her so special.

“When you see AnneMarie Todd, it’s rare that she’s without a big smile, and her camera,” said Thomas. “A talented angel, and a dedicated member of the association. But to anyone she meets, she becomes a cherished friend.”

For Todd, even events like Thursday morning’s conference can be a lot to handle. But she’s found the perfect way to keep pushing forward.

“I’m having to wear my ear plugs in crowds like this, because the sound is like a freight train on loop,” said Todd. “And I’m overwhelmed by it. However, with my camera, when I have that focus, I’m in my element.”

AnneMarie Todd’s work: