No matter which button you pushed this week, you probably could use an inspiring story to uplift your day. I would like to tell you about one of the most positive people I know. I would like to tell you about Daniel Chew.
I first met Danny way back when my group was first involved in the Allegheny Cycling Association Criterium Races at Highland Park Zoo. Danny was part of an elite group of riders that included Mac Martin, Danny’s brother Tom, and Matt Eaton. All of whom had national pedigree as road bicycling racers. These guys not only rode and raced together all over the country but they took the time to work with the weekend warriors like my group. Fun guys, but very talented and Danny was one of them. The interesting thing about Danny Chew is that he was always smiling, always engaging and when you first meet him, he asks you all about yourself. He does not dwell on his accomplishments at all but is more interested in what you do, where do you live, where do you ride, and ……do you know any athletic women who would be interested in dating a bike racer like him. He has an infectious laugh and his smiling presence was one of the rich memories I have of racing at the Zoo.
Daniel was a four time contestant in the Core States US Pro Cycling Race in Philadelphia and finished 12th in 1985 and 16th in 1987 as a freelance pro with no team support. He raced against the best in the world. In 1996 he was first place in the Race Across America finishing in 8 days, 7 hours and 14 minutes. Think about that for a minute. He won again in 1999 and competed a total of 8 RAAMs in his career. In 1983, he founded an iconic race here in Pittsburgh called the Dirty Dozen where racers take on 12 of the toughest hills in Pittsburgh and 12 of the toughest hills anywhere for that matter. He was one of the oldest winners and competed as well as ran the race up until the present time.
Danny is a math whiz so his statistics on his web site about his races are legendary and he cheerfully challenged people to beat his record of climbing the stairs at the University of Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning. Danny loves the bicycle. His mission of riding a million miles in his lifetime is still a dream and a reachable goal in spite of a recent setback in Ohio that changed his life.
While riding his bike he lost consciousness and crashed. The result was vertibae damage and spinal cord damage that has left him paralyzed from the chest down. He is currently in the rehabilitation program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago on the campus of Northwestern University. His brother Tom researched the best rehabilitation facilities and found that RIC is viewed by many to be the finest in the country. Appropriate for one of the finest athletes in the country. I went to visit Danny last week and although he stated that this was a tough pill to swallow, his confidence in his recovery and his zeal for the road forward was truly inspiring.
Despite the life changing injury and the unknowns about his recovery, Danny has not lost that inquisitiveness about what you are doing and what is going on back home in Pittsburgh. Although he shared details of his rehab program, he was more interested in what was happening in the cycling community and how my wife and son were doing. The nurses were all doting over him because he is such an engaging individual. He is cheerful in spite of what has happened and is looking forward to his life back home when he returns sometime in December. He claims that he will continue his quest for the million miles on a hand cycle if that is his fate, but he has sought out some military veterans and other enthusiastic hand cyclists to learn all about what lies ahead for him. He is excited to continue his life in spite of this debilitating injury.
Daniel was not only inspiring in his racing days, but in my mind, he is even more inspiring now with his positive attitude. I personally believe his life will be even larger as he continues to inspire others with his goals and his personality. I can see him on the speakers circuit someday to inspire others that no matter what happens to you in life, you can continue on if you have positive thinking and a positive attitude. Chuck Swindoll, the famous pastor always says,” I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.” I pray for Danny and his recovery. I am sure that God has a good plan for him.
If you would like to contribute to his recovery, you can go on the web and sign on to http://www.youcaring.com There is a section where you can contribute. Also, if you are local to Pittsburgh, there is a fundraiser at the Southside Works 425 Cinema Drive which will show films of RAAM and give a chance for all of the cycling community to get together and rally around this cause for our friend. The date is Sunday the 20th of November at 4:30. Pray for Danny and his family and get involved in his recovery. He is inspirational for sure. Thanks for reading.
Truly inspiring article, Patrick! I feel for Danny, his family and his path, but as you said, he is positive and looking forward to riding. Most people would just give up right there. Still no snow out here and it is weird weather for sure. Subbing in Special Ed. a ton and staying busy. Hope all is well and I see alot of rides with your buddies back east at different places on Facebook. Amazing and keep on keeping on, dude.
Great post, Pat. You really captured Danny’s friendly spirit beginning when we first met him at the Zoo Crits. When he is able to use a hand cycle, this may open even more opportunities for him to compete, even in running road races, ironically, and gain miles towards his goal! Thanks for sharing the details and picture form your visit with Danny. He wanted to meet my sister, but I didn’t have one…; )
Wonderful tribute, Pat.
By the way, I wonder if you ever knew my cousin Tim Reilly? He biked in that era of Mac Martin.
There is only one Danny and his positive outlook is inspirational for sure. I share some of those memories of Danny from back then and his talent on that bike was very impressive. I think that we should do the Dirty Dozen this year Pat, and by the way there are 13 hills! I’m glad that you went to see him. Thanks for this post, still praying!
Pat that you for the intel on Danny yes indeed your mental outlook is everything in rehab and I know he will do everything possible to move forward in his life ,This a flash back to 20 years ago for me and all the great people that supported me to Danny we all have your back and follow it up with prayer for your recovery .
Very inspirational…Keeping Danny in my prayers 🙏
Sent from my iPhone
Thanks for sharing this, Pat.
You have shared a very piece of great information here. The information you have provided is genuinely beneficial and significant for us. I would like to give appreciation for sharing an article like this.
Pulmonary Rehabilitation Nyc
Thank you and thanks for reading.
Thank you for saying so and thanks for reading.
Well Done! You have provided very informative and meaningful information here. I would like to appreciate the efforts which you included in this article. Health is everything for happiness. You have described everything also clearly. I am glad to read it. Holistic wellness healing practices treat your entire body, mind, mental strength, and soul as one unit to address the underlying causes of treatment and improve overall wellness. Please contact us for more about the Best Rehab Center in Queens, NY.
Thanks – you will like the next post too.