Commissioned by Mind Your Brain Foundation Executive Director Candace Gantt
Gift to President Michael Sean Grady
OIL/RESIN ON CANVAS
2005 started off like any other year for Candace Gantt – full of hope and ambition for things ahead. As Senior Corporate Director at Ritz Carlton, Candace was integral in the opening domestic and international hotels, as well as in developing the finest of guest-centered reservation systems in the world. Candace accomplished much in her life, but her the momentous of feats to date was being an amazing mother to her daughters, then 4 and 10 years old, while maintaining her successful career and keeping up with the dream of being a tri-athlete and marathoner. Two weeks after competing in her first Iron man competition, Candaceset out for the day to start her normal workout routine of riding her bike for miles at a time in order to prepare for her next competition! But this day, Thursday, July 21 was different – Candace would not make it home. She was hit, while biking, by a construction vehicle which left her brain injured and in a coma for two weeks. Against all odds, and true to her warrior form, Candace was walking and talking again within months. The care team at Penn, and her neurosurgeon played the biggest of roles. Dr. Sean Grady [Charles Harrison Frazier Professor & Chairman of the Dept. of Neurosurgery at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania since March of 1999] and his team were there with constant encouragement and knowledge unbound. An unwavering presence in Candace’s care, Dr. Grady and his team help all their patients to continue to thrive.
While continuing to improve physically, Candace began struggling with the 10-20% of herself she felt was still missing. Along with the frustrations of dealing with insurance policies, as well asall the treatment options and resources she was left feeling defeated even when her instinct was to fight on and win. She discussed these concerns with Dr.Grady(always on hand and accessible) and how alone and discouraged this all made her feel. With Dr. Grady’s encouragement and constant support, Candace collaborated with the Penn Medical Center team in order to help brain injury survivors like herself gain access to the tools, support, resources and information they will need on this journey – and all for FREE!! Candace and Dr. Grady would provide the first ever patient-centered conference that would take TBI survivors from coma to community and beyond.
Mind Your Brain helps fill the gap in the continuity of care for TBI patients. When released from initial acute and rehabilitation facilities there needs to be a network of services, on-going support, information and education for the survivor. Until Mind Your Brain, founded in 2013, there was no place to fill these gaps – now yearly there is!!Mind Your Brain seeks to enhance through advocacy, support, education, and research the quality of life of ALL those affected by TBI: patients, families, caregivers, and doctors. MYB seeks to reach these brave warriors and offer them all levels of support.TBI has significant challenges for families and friends, as well as patients. It is often confusing trying to navigate this brand new world, and survivors often feel alone without the support and information needed to get by. Mind Your Brain brings together an extraordinary community of survivors and their families and caregivers to help them feel they are not alone, and that there are options for all kind of care and therapies. There IS hope…having a strong foundation is the best way to start this long journey, and Mind Your Brain seeks to establish, maintain, and strengthen this foundation through our free yearly conference which helps the entire TBI community learn how to get pack the pieces missing
Mind Your Brain – recovery is ahead