Every patient is amazing, to me, as they all have such unique stories, lives, and personalities. But Candace Gantt's story is one of the stories I talk about the most.
On July 19th, 2005, Candace suffered a serious brain injury after being struck by a car while riding her bike. Following an extensive hospitalization and surgeries at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, she was back on her bike just 6 months after her accident.
She was one of the first patients I met when I started here in 2008 - we invited her in for a reunion with the nurses who had cared for her three years earlier during her lengthy stay in HUP’s neurocritical care unit, as inspiration for her first comeback race. She's still racing strong and using her story to raise awareness and support for brain injury research and care.
If you haven't heard her story before, you'll feel like you know her after watching this video:
On October 20th, 2012, Candace will participate in an Ironman Triathlon in Wilmington, North Carolina called Beach to Battleship to raise funds for brain injury research in Penn’s Center for Brain Injury and Repair (CBIR). This event includes a 2.4 mile open water swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon (26.2) mile run for a total of 140.6 miles of competition. This is a grueling task that requires physical and mental strength.
To help her strong mentally for the 13 hours she'll be racing, people can send quotes, jokes or a antidotes that she will carry on her bike and run and read one every mile. Her daughter, Carter, is collecting inspirational messages at firstname.lastname@example.org (just put IRON WOMAN in the subject line).
Candace is no stranger to sharing her story. In addition to the stories surrounding her 2008 comeback, she hopped off a plane and spoke with 6ABC just hours after completing the Boston Marathon last year. And on October 17, look for a story in the Philadelphia Inquirer sharing her journey.
I've never met someone as strong, dedicated and enduring as Candace, so on October 20, I know who I'll be rooting for. Go Candace!