"Success Speakers Series" Presents: Candace Gantt
In 2005, Candace Gantt was admitted to Penn's NeuroICU after suffering a traumatic brain injury so severe that doctors weren't sure if she'd ever walk or talk again. She made an inspirational recovery, finishing the Boston Marathon and Founding the organization Mind Your Brain (MYB), a resource for brain injury survivors at Penn Medicine. Last week, Candace spoke at our “Success Speakers Series” to share her story and provide a few rehabilitation tips with her fellow TBI survivors at our Outpatient Program.
How did you keep motivated to stay active after your TBI?
I did not recognize I had deficits (no self-awareness I guess) so I always described myself as an athlete, wife, and mother. My motivation was to run another race and get my children to playdates. Lots of people told me I could not do things … but I didn't believe them
Did you always feel the need to keep track of your personal recovery goals?
I was always in search of a method to evaluate my progress but I could never find one. So I was reduced to self-help: memorizing bible verses or memorizing what I had for dinner yesterday, the names of people I met and then see how long it took me to remember. I played lots of games with my children that is how I knew if I was getting better when I would win.
What role has faith and family played in your experience?
My family and faith sustained me. I had a community that helped as well, they were tireless in helping me with my recovery. My husband returned to work after taking off a month to care for me and then many people brought meals, babysat, took me to appointments.
How did you find the energy and focus to start the organization, Mind Your Brain (MYB), post-TBI?
It was 5 years post accident when I started MYB. Being active and developing executive function again was the greatest gift, I will call it " on the job training". I would encourage anyone on their road to recovery to start with volunteer work. My energy was slow to return but I understood my challenges and only worked on a project in the morning when I felt the best.
What is your ultimate mission at Mind Your Brain (MYB)?
I hope to help the 5.3 million Americans still suffering deficits from a brain injury. It breaks my heart to know that recovery is possible but people are not getting the care they need.
How can TBI Survivors find out more information about Mind Your Brain?