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140 Miles of Grace

One of the joys of working inCommunications at Penn Medicine is that I get to meet all these amazing people.Staff, physicians, and, when I'm especially lucky, amazing patients.

Every patient is amazing, to me, as theyall have such unique stories, lives, and personalities. But Candace Gantt'sstory is one of the stories I talk about the most. 

On July 19th, 2005, Candace suffered aserious brain injury after being struck by a car while riding her bike. Following an extensive hospitalization and surgeries at the Hospital of theUniversity of Pennsylvania, she was back on her bike just 6 months after heraccident.

She was one of the first patients I metwhen I started here in 2008 - we invited her in for a reunion with the nurseswho had cared for her three years earlier during her lengthy stay in HUP’sneurocritical care unit, as inspiration for her first comeback race. She'sstill racing strong and using her story to raise awareness and support forbrain injury research and care.

If you haven't heard her story before, you'llfeel like you know her after watching this video:

On October 20th, 2012, Candace willparticipate in an Ironman Triathlon in Wilmington, North Carolina calledBeach to Battleship to raise funds for brain injury research in Penn’s Centerfor Brain Injury and Repair (CBIR). This event includes a 2.4 mile open waterswim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon (26.2) mile run for a total of 140.6miles of competition.  This is a grueling task that requires physical andmental strength.  

To help her strong mentally for the 13hours she'll be racing, people can send quotes, jokes or a antidotes that shewill carry on her bike and run and read one every mile. Her daughter, Carter,is collecting inspirational messages at carter.gantt@gmail.com (just put IRON WOMAN inthe subject line).

Candace is no stranger to sharing herstory. In addition to the stories surrounding her 2008 comeback,  shehopped off a plane and spoke with 6ABC just hours after completing the BostonMarathon last year. And on October 17, look for a story in the PhiladelphiaInquirer sharing her journey.

I've never met someone as strong, dedicatedand enduring as Candace, so on October 20, I know who I'll be rooting for. GoCandace!

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Views expressed are those of the author or other attributed individual and do not necessarily represent the official opinion of the related Department(s), University of Pennsylvania Health System (Penn Medicine), or the University of Pennsylvania, unless explicitly stated with the authority to do so.

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