One of life’s greatest lessons is how quickly it can change in a split second.
That’s why, when the Griffin family gathers this week to celebrate Thanksgiving, they’ll give thanks for second chances.
“We look for every moment we can to celebrate,” said Thomas Griffin, his son, Malachi, sitting by his side.
They were visiting Grand Rapids from their home in Hancock, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, nearly a year after Malachi was critically injured in a horrific crash. His future unsure at the time, the Griffins never gave up hope.
“Dare to dream,” Thomas said. “Because when somebody comes to Mary Free Bed, they’re at their lowest point. Their hopes have been dashed. They don’t know where life’s going to take them. But here, you have the opportunity to dream again … because of the persistence and passion of the people who work at Mary Free Bed.”
In the five months since Malachi graduated from the Mary Free Bed Kids program, he’s continued outpatient therapy near his home, working to further improve strength, mobility and endurance. The Griffins credit his rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed for putting him on the path to recovery.
“Everyone here is always thinking of the next thing,” said Malachi’s mother, Kelly. “It was Kate, Malachi’s speech therapist, who said, ‘I was thinking all night of what I could try next’ … That’s the heart of Mary Free Bed. I don’t think I can ever express our gratitude enough. They made us part of their family.”
The Griffins hope Malachi’s story can inspire others to remain hopeful in the face of life’s challenges.
“It’s been a long year,” Thomas said. “We’ve learned to love regardless, and more importantly, to express that love, because you never know what tomorrow will hold.”
This video about Malachi’s rehabilitation journey was shared in November with guests at the Mary Free Bed Gala:
Original post: June 20, 2019
Malachi Griffin was helping his uncle move from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Tennessee, when his life changed forever. On Dec. 8, halfway through their 15-hour trip, Malachi lost control of the truck he was driving and rolled nine times into oncoming traffic.
He was flown to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis with life-threatening injuries, including a severe traumatic brain injury. His family rushed to his side, unsure of what the future would hold but hoping for a miracle.
Five weeks later, Malachi remained unresponsive but was stable enough to be transferred to Mary Free Bed to begin rehabilitation. More than 140 days after he arrived – six months after the accident – Malachi walked out of the hospital, headed home to Hancock.
The Griffins’ “journey of fear, faith and fortitude” was featured in an installment of “Our Michigan Life” on WZZM in Grand Rapids. In it, Mary Free Bed Kids pediatric physiatrist Lisa Voss (pictured at right, congratulating Malachi during his June 7 inpatient graduation celebration) calls his recovery “an absolute miracle.”
Watch it here.