GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — In a little more than two years, Matthew Chaffee has gone from a novice to the Amway River Bank Run 25K handcycle winner.
Chaffee, 28, finished the 25K handcycle race Saturday morning with a chip time of 42 minutes, 52 seconds, putting him on pace for a two minute, 46 second mile.
“I almost died in my accident. So, it’s like a second chance at life,” Chaffee said. “I’m just doing everything I can to take advantage of the life that I have, the ability I have and I’m just going out there doing everything I can.”
When Chaffee was 24 years old, he was paralyzed from just below the chest down after a motorcycle crash in November 2014.
Then, just eight months after Matthew Chaffee’s injury, his brother Adam Chaffee was also paralyzed in a swimming accident.
Now, Matthew Chaffee is working at Mary Free Bed, trying to help others with spinal cord injuries.
His Amway River Bank Run win helps him get one step closer to his ultimate goal: representing his country as a Paralympian. Last month, he finished fourth in the Boston Marathon.
He has set up a GoFundMe account in hopes of raising money for a high-speed, Olympic quality, carbon-frame handcycle used by most of potential Paralympic competitors.