Louisiana Man Continues to Chase Adventure after Spinal Cord Injury
Chase Treadway, now 32, embraces all life has to offer.
For Chase Treadway, now 32, a jump into the shallow end of a pool on the fourth of July in 2009 resulted in a C-6-to-C-7 complete spinal cord injury – an injury that Chase assumed meant his life would be limited. A few years later, though, another jump turned that assumption on its head – a skydiving leap that Chase calls the most liberating experience of his life.
“I had learned at Shepherd Center that life goes on. You’ve just got to reignite the fire somehow,” Chase says. “For me, it was skydiving. Sometimes you’ve got to scare yourself silly to realize you’re still alive. That was pivotal for me.”
Chase, who lives in Mandeville, Louisiana, didn’t slow down from there. At Shepherd Center, Chase was introduced to adaptive sports, especially handcycling. The return to action re-energized him. Handcycling and swimming led to skydiving. Skydiving led to auto racing. Together, all of it led to something else – the realization that he needed to share his newfound life philosophy with others.
Chase credits Shepherd Center’s emphasis on peer mentoring with giving him the desire to mentor others in his home community. In 2013, that desire culminated in the creation of the Chase Your Dreams Foundation.
“The idea was that sometimes all is takes to really live again, to create a new start for yourself, is a positive, inspiring experience,” Chase says. “So, let’s focus on that and declutter the rest. It’s about simplifying things and embracing what life has to offer.”
Recently, his foundation work has slowed, but there’s a good reason for that. Chase, who lives independently with help from his service dog Delta, just started his first full-time job since being injured. A self-professed “tech geek,” he’s now a web developer with a commercial marketing company.
“The one universal thing I tell everybody who’s going through something similar is that it’s going to be OK,” Chase says. “It’s just going to be a different version of OK. That’s true for everyone. We all face different ordeals in life. You just find what helps you reach the other side.”
Written by Phillip Jordan
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 900 inpatients, 575 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year.