What’s up! A little bit about myself, I love basketball especially competitive games that go into overtime and end in a buzzer beater. I hit a few in my day playing as a child and playing wheelchair basketball at Oklahoma State University.
Photo Credit: Disability Images
I was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts as Reynald Grandoit. Most people know me as Ray Grand.
I always had dreams of playing in the NBA and being the CEO of my own company.
At the young age of 14, I contracted spinal meningitis, which left me in a coma for several weeks, paralyzing me from the waist down. I quickly became wheelchair bound.
This changed my life completely, but not my dreams or aspirations. I saw paralysis as a blessing. I was still alive and able to do everything that anyone else could, just differently.
I began to develop a passion for business and fashion. I became an inspirational speaker and CEO of my own company.
I started a clothing line in high school because I love looking fresh and GRAND. At age 16, I was chosen to participate in the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship class (NFTE).
The company Ray Grand Apparel is the celebration of overcoming adversity expressed through clothing.
I am also the CEO of HandPrint which provides custom orders and promotional items for organizations, teams, and clubs.
In addition to being an entrepreneur, I love mentoring with Partners for Youth with Disabilities.
I was featured in their national mentor month public service announcement with my mentor, Federal Judge Reginald C. Lindsay (Rest In Peace).
I have experienced many medical complications since becoming paralyzed. There were times I was on bed rest in the hospital for a year at a time. I was determined to keep going.
Shortly after being in the hospital, I was honored by the Boston Celtics with the "Hero Among Us" award for demonstrating extreme courage by overcoming a disability and accomplishing my life goals.
The center of my life is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I love God because He loved me first and He never gave up on me despite my anger towards him when I became paralyzed.
Throughout my life I've dealt with depression, insecurities, self hate, an eating disorder, and being passive suicidal.
I love to help athletes living with a disability because I believe we can all learn from someone and need motivation and encouragement in order to accomplish our goals.
I’ve been through some rough times and every single person who encouraged me, or told me a story, or simply said hello to me went a long way. I love to help people who want to move forward and want more out of their life.
Currently, I am happily married to my lovely Mel and we are raising two children that are absolutely world changers. I spend my free time learning new things, watching basketball, taking naps, doing some domestic work, making sure my waves are spinning and spreading love through my podcast and YouTube channel.
Photo Credit: Latisha Arrington
As a speaker, my goal is to connect, teach, and inspire my audiences. I help each person see themselves in the stories I tell and then I turn the stories into a lesson.
As a life coach, I motivate each person I work with. I become their accountability partner and help them to transform their mindset and live their best life.
As a disability advocate, I am a voice for persons with disabilities whose voice may not be heard. I bring to light the issues that the oppressed community encounters.
As an author, I paint a picture and tell the story of my struggles, adversities, and victories. I teach how I turn my problems into possibilities.
"My injury from a dislocated knee lingered and I had to face the fact that I wasn't as good as before. I felt insecure about myself. Ray gave me the secret to life's success. It's not the problem, it's the perspective. Ray helped me to have a different outlook so I can create the environment I want no matter the problems I face."
I felt like I had to be abrasive or distant as a defense mechanism. Ray created a safe place for me to put my guard down as well as focus on my craft along with spiritual development without judgment. The power of Ray's energy and impeccable words gave me permission to be open minded.
Life after meeting Ray is filled with grand gestures and daily decisions to decide how to grow and be an asset to my community.
Like most entrepreneurs, I thought an idea and money was all that was required in order to be successful. Ray Grand helped me broaden my horizons and dispelled any pre-existing naiveté.
Thanks to Ray Grand's tutelage, I am now the proud owner of a very artful design catalog. I appreciate all that Ray has contributed to my brand's success.
Before meeting Ray, I struggled with expressing my feelings in a healthy way. Instead, I would bury my feelings and pretend everything was OK. Ray helped me to become more self-aware and express my emotions in order to gain healing.
Thanks to Ray's guidance, I am free to be me and I have gained more clarity and understanding about who I am. I can now move forward in life with a deeper love for myself and healthier relationships with others.
Ray is a phenomenal man. He taught me there always has to be a balance between the things we want to do and the things we have to do. He taught me that some things we have to do for our soul and inner peace. This advice I've gained from Ray has taken me a long way.
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