Posted on June 27, 2019

Care granted: Gabriel uses personal experience after spinal cord injury to help others

Gabriel Grant was an 18-year-old high school graduate looking forward to going to Grand Rapids Community College to play golf as a walk on. But when a tire blew on the car he was riding in, Gabriel’s life took a different path.

Gabriel broke his neck and became a quadriplegic in the 2009 crash. After spending a month in an acute care hospital, he came to Mary Free Bed to start his journey to independence. He spent the next year participating in therapy, first as an inpatient. He was one of the first patients to stay at the Inn at Mary Free Bed, which allowed him to practice living independently and continue with outpatient therapy.

To stay connected to athletics, Gabriel joined the Rolling Thunder, Mary Free Bed’s quad rugby team. Two years later, Gabriel’s dream of playing collegiate sports became a reality when he was offered an athletic scholarship to play quad rugby at the University of Arizona.

During his recovery, Gabriel struggled to find quality home care. That personal experience led him to build his own home-care business, Care Granted, in 2016. Gabriel also has worked with ArtPrize to improve the event’s accessibility.

What’s on the horizon for Gabriel (pictured above with his father, Frank, at the Mary Free Bed Foundation’s 2019 Golf Outing)? Marrying his fiance, Angel, in November, continuing Care Granted operations and focusing on accessible housing.

“I am an entrepreneur at heart, and there needs to be more accessible housing available in the city of Grand Rapids,” said Gabriel, who now splits his time between Phoenix and Grand Rapids. “After I left Mary Free Bed, I lived in downtown Grand Rapids until moving to Arizona. I loved being part of the action. And people with disabilities need to be part of the action.”