Taking a Victory Lap After Brain Injury

David Grant blog, Brain Injury Hope Network, loss, grief, brain injury, growth, time, non-profit,

There is no denying that living with a brain injury brings many challenges — both seen and unseen. Later this year, I’ll celebrate two anniversaries, both of which changed my life. This November marks the 14-year anniversary of the day I was T-boned by a newly licensed teenage driver while I was out cycling, from which I sustained a traumatic brain injury. Was it the worst day of my life? I’ll let you decide.

In November, I will commemorate another anniversary. For the last 11 years — without missing a single month — I have been a contributing writer for BrainLine, chronically my life as a brain injury survivor. Well over 100 articles later, I’ve still not run out of words. Occasionally, my wife, Sarah, kindly chides me that I am unable to stay quiet for long. I ruefully admit that she is right.

Whether you have a brain injury or not, a lot of life happens to all of us. In the years since my injury, I have lost both my parents, had several very close family members step out of my life, and have quite literally had to rebuild my life from the ground up.

But there have been so many amazing things that have come to pass over the years as well. Knowing that my writing for Brainline helps serve a greater good has been incredibly rewarding; it adds a sense of purpose to the pain. These days, I am working fewer hours and mindfully embracing the next chapter of my life — and, Sarah and I recently welcomed two new grandsons to the family!

And now — I want to take a victory lap and share some very exciting news. A year or so after my injury, I founded what I envisioned to be a small online support community. At the time, I had no idea that there was such an unmet need for others within the survivor community to connect with each other. Fast forward to today, and that small group has morphed to become the Brain Injury Hope Network. 

Together with my wife, Sarah, we’ve provided many services to those within the brain injury community. For close to a decade, we published Hope Magazine. Last year, we started a virtual support group that has thrived since its inception. With more than 50,000 members and several million yearly member engagements online, the BIHN has become the most engaged community supporting survivors worldwide. It’s unexpected, humbling, and a testament to how deep the need is.

Just last month, we took our biggest step forward: our status as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization was approved! We’ve positioned a new board, all passion-driven people whose lives have been touched by brain injury. I am in awe of how much the BIHN has been able to support those who most need help. This new chapter of our advocacy work means that we’ll be able to move into new areas of support.

Looking back over the years, I never expected to live a life defined largely by being a brain injury survivor. Early on, I was completely unable to see that there might be a silver lining to all that has come to pass — yet here we are, a fledgling nonprofit with a lot of passion and a deep desire to help lift humanity higher.

Many years ago, Walt Disney said, “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it all started with a mouse.” I share Walt’s sentiment. In our case, it all started with a crash, a crash whose repercussions have circled the globe and helped thousands.