Sometimes the most amazing things come from tragedy. Just ask David A. Grant. November 11, 2010, was supposed to be a typical day for David. Late that afternoon, as he had done for years, David hopped on his bike for a daily ride.
His cycling style has always been conservative. Highly reflective clothes, hand signals at all intersections and a helmet covering his head, he expected the day’s ride to be like any other. A couple of miles from his home, at a familiar intersection, his life was about to change forever.
The car that t-boned Grant was driven by a newly licensed sixteen-year-old driver. After shattering the vehicle’s windshield, Grant was thrown fifty feet down Main Street and knocked unconscious by the sheer force of the accident. His injuries were severe and life changing. Rushed by ambulance to the nearest trauma center, his “visible” injuries were easy to assess; a broken arm, multiple lacerations from the shattered windshield, and bruises that would take weeks to fade.
However, an injury was undiagnosed that night. Unknown by the attending staff at the trauma center, Grant also sustained a traumatic brain injury. It has now been seven years since that blustery New England November day. “The first couple of years were just horrible,” says Grant, the founder of the TBI HOPE Network. “Learning to get my feet back under me after my TBI was the toughest thing I have ever done in my life,” Grant continues.
Like many brain injury survivors, life changed dramatically for David and his wife, Sarah. Unable to work on a full-time basis, they struggled financially for many years. His brain injury symptoms included a dramatic change in his personality, constant vertigo, and significant cognitive challenges. Attending a face-to-face brain injury support group was the first breakthrough during the first year after his accident. “I was around people who faced the same challenges that I did,” Grant shares. “Knowing that I was no longer alone in all this gave me hope for the first time in a long time.”
TBI Hope & Inspiration
As he continued to move forward as a brain injury survivor, Grant grew increasingly aware that there were many others like him, people who were trying to navigate life after brain injury. In 2013, he started what he expected to be a rather small Facebook community, TBI Hope & Inspiration. What he did not know was that there was a huge void within the brain injury support community. Survivors needed to connect with other survivors. Many, like Grant, also lived with PTSD, making it a challenge to navigate today’s busy world. While other survivors, many in rural areas, had no access to local support groups.
In the years since, the TBI Hope Facebook family has become one of the world’s largest that supports brain injury survivors of all kinds. From victims of domestic trauma to survivors of motor vehicle accidents, from stroke survivors to many who have had falls, they come together online in the spirit of true community, supporting each other. Now numbering over 25,000 members, survivors worldwide have found the end of brain injury isolation.
But it didn’t stop there!
“My wife Sarah and I ask ourselves regularly what we can do to help others who share our fate,” Grant says. “As long as there are survivors out there unaware of support resources, we have work to do.” In March of 2015, David and Sarah launched TBI HOPE Magazine, a monthly publication whose mission is to support and educate all affected by brain injury. Their monthly publication now has readers around with world in over forty counties. The digital version of TBI HOPE Magazine is available at no cost. Also available in print on Amazon, Grant often compares it to the Reader’s Digest of the brain injury community as it is full of personal stories of others who have had lives touched by brain injury.
Life has changed a lot over the last seven years for the Grants. David is slowing getting back to his passion for web design. Brain injury recovery is lifelong with Grant finding himself able to accomplish things at seven years out that would have been unthinkable early on after his accident. “I know I’ll never be the person I once was,” he said. “But in many respects, my accident has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. So many others have found hope because of our advocacy work.”
During the early years after his accident, Grant’s wife Sarah had a mantra she would often share during the difficult times, “Someday the curse will become a blessing.” Those whose lives have been made a bit easier because of the work of the TBI HOPE Network would surely agree.
For more information, please visit: TBIHopeandInspiration
Submitted by: David A. Grant
Founder of TBI Hope Network
We welcome TBI Hope Network as a member of Picking Up Pieces and thank them for their support.
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