Danny Chew Paralyzed

This entry was posted in Important Life Stories on by .

I just read last night, when I got back from St. Louis, that Danny Chew,  RAAM winner and all around good guy, fell yesterday and broke his back and is now paralyzed from the waist down. What a tragedy.

I’ve known Danny for a very long time.  Since he was a teenager, and me nearly too.  His brother Tom and I rode together, on a composite team, in the first Coors’ Classic I did.  We were sponsored by Anchor Steam Beer.  The Chew’s, Tom, Danny and their father, drove through Topeka and picked me up on their way to Colorado.  We trained in Aspen for a week before the race.

Danny has always danced to his own beat.  I only saw him every few years recently.  Actually, I don’t think I’ve seen him that recently.  I last time I remember seeing him was at Interbike. Wow, that was a while ago.

Danny promotes a race/ride in Pittsburg call the Dirty Dozen.  I watched a video on it  (below) and put it on my bucket list right after.  It looks like a blast.

Danny is in the hospital and his injury is early to diagnose.  But he has some broken vertebra and is missing feeling in his legs.  Danny has a lifetime goal of riding 1,000,000 miles.  It is rumored that he said  – “I’ll just have to finish my million miles on a hand cycle. So be it.”

Danny’s friends sent up a crowd funding site to help cover some of the costs of the excess medical bills, which, for sure, are going to be huge.  Click here for the link if you think you be able help out.  

Danny, with his whistle, ready for the start of the Dirty Dozen.

Danny, with his whistle, ready for the start of the Dirty Dozen.

I believe this is the Morgul-Bismark stage of the Coor's Classic that year. I'm #47, Tom just above me.

I believe this is the Morgul-Bismark stage of the Coor’s Classic that year. I’m #47, Tom, #48, just above me.


14 thoughts on “Danny Chew Paralyzed

  1. Jim

    Holy crap!!! Danny was a staple in our area.
    I live reasonably near by and yet I had not heard about this.
    Tragic is about all I can say.
    We can only hope for the best.
    This is just beyond awful.

  2. biscuit

    I remember reading something about he was the first to tackle RAAM by riding at a higher mph avg (say 20 instead of 18) and sleeping more per day (4 instead of 2).

  3. tom

    He’s quite an inspiration to me. I worried about him, though, spending so much time out there on the road. This is awful to hear about.

  4. Larry T

    Gotta admit I’d never heard of this fellow..but as they say, “A cyclist in need…”
    Thanks for the link, I put some loot into the kitty to help the guy.

  5. Roger Lomshek

    Danny’s a good friend who I had the pleasure of being beat into the ground by on many a mega-mileage ride when I lived in PA and trained with him in the early 90’s.

    Here’s a little more info on what happened from Cassie Schumacher who was riding with Danny when he wrecked.

    I want to share some clarifying facts about Danny Chew Chew’s accident yesterday. I was out riding yesterday with Danny Chew in Akron, Ohio on the 2nd day of his 1,000 mile week. At about 12:15 EST 40 miles into the ride in Lodi as we were talking he drifted on the other side of the road. Prior to his fall there was no indication that anything was wrong.

    We were going 20-25 miles an hour when he rolled into a drainage ditch. I got to him about 30 seconds after he went down. He could not move so I called 911. He could move his arm. At the hospital he said he felt dizzy before he crashed. HE was full conscious when I got to him and never lost consciousness until he was put on general anesthesia around 6pm EST when he want into spinal sugery where they were trying to repair some of the damage to his C7 and T1.

    Danny came out of surgery around 11:30pm it went well but there is significant spinal damage. We will not know for a few days the real extent of the injuries. Danny was in great spirits all day yesterday and was very optimistic.

    He talked about the worst outcome shortly after the accident; he said “If I can’t use my legs again I guess I going to have to finish my Million Miles on a hand cycle. “ He was surrounded all day by his good friends. Around 9pm his mother arrived with one of his best friends. Today his sister and several other close friends will be here.

    Any help is appreciated.

  6. KrakatoaEastofJava

    Very sorry to hear about this terrible accident. I hope there is some hope for full mobility after all.

    Lol, “The Spoke” dude is riding a Nishiki!

  7. Steve Tilford Post author

    Krakatoa – That is Larry Shields I believe. He was from California and finished 2nd at the National Road Championships at least a couple times. Good rider.

  8. KrakatoaEastofJava

    Ah yes, Larry Shields. He won our club’s “Willows Road Race” a bunch of times. I also see a Colombian rider there. My coach (Norberto Caceras) was on that team. I think he won a TT at Vail Pass. He was a little guy, very light, and perhaps the best “pure” climber I’ve ever known.

  9. Roger Lomshek

    One more update from some friends that are with Danny now.

    Just got off the phone with Cassie Schumacher for a update on the CHEWMAN. His breathing is getting better, a positive step forward. As I walked in to see Dan yesterday with Mark Hess, supposed to only be 2 at a time for visiting in his room, Dan has a breathing tube in, so rite away being in a room with Dan it was way to quiet, as he can’t talk, but he can sure use hand gestures.

    He grabbed and held our hands and we talked to him and he nodded at our conversation, all the sudden he motions Hess aside and waves me over to that side, he points at the strap that has his hands tied and gives it the middle finger, he is strapped only because he is on heavy narcotics and may unintentionally pull out his breathing tube, not good.

    Dan is pointing and giving the strap the finger and pointing at me to untie it, I get a nurse and she untied it, all dan wanted to do was itch is head. As long as someone was in the room he was free to be untied, well that’s when he pointed to the clip board with the alphabet on it and started spelling out CHEWMAN type demands.

    Jerry Lynch and his wife came in to say bye for the day, next thing Ron Lutz and Eric Lutz came in, now if you know what happens when Ron and Dan are in the same room you can only imagine how things were, it became like a game of charades, Dan talking a mile a minute spelling things out on this alphabet board and the 4 of us trying to figure out what he was saying.

    I did notice Dan shedding some tears, and of course I question it, Dan those are not tears are they, he sternly looked at me and gave me the finger, if he could speak…” OH F YOU SHAFFER”…we all busted out laughing….Cassie is going to work on putting together some live feed of the CHEWMAN so everyone can see that he may be down for the moment, but he knows we are in his corner and he for sure won’t let any of us down, he is a bull headed fighter….If anyone is in the Akron area or can make it go and visit him.

  10. Ron Harper

    Good job Steve. Yeah I met Danny in 1982 and listenened to his banter All These Years. Tragical. Saw you race in Philly in the 80’s I was there with Danny, Hal, Sally and co helping Dan he would be the only rider in a helmet ” leather strap”! We would pick Danny up somewhere in the Laurel Mts after his 150 mile Warm Up Ride two days before Philly, he would eat until they threw us out of a buffet haha. I think the last time I saw him he was riding thru Las Cruces where I Now Live on his RAAM race in 97 !

  11. Jennifer Sliney

    It is so fortunate that you were with him and able to respond so quickly! Your presence and actions have likely made for a significantly better prognosis in what could have been a life ending tragedy. Thank you for sharing this difficult story.


Comments are closed.