Friends and family say that Danny Chew was seriously injured in a bike accident on Sunday which has left him paralysed from the waist down. A two-time winner and eight-time finisher of the Race Across America, Chew is also the co-founder of Pittsburgh’s Dirty Dozen bike race, in which riders tackle 13 of the city’s steepest inclines.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Chew appeared to suffer a “dizzy spell” during the ride, drifting off the road and crashing into a drainage ditch.
In childhood, the now 54-year-old set a goal of riding his bike one million miles, earning him the nickname the Million Mile Man. So far, he has ridden around 800,000. According his friend, Cassie Schumacher, who was riding with him when he crashed, Chew has since said: “I’ll just have to finish my million miles on a hand cycle. So be it.”
“I thought he was just veering away to go to the bathroom,” said Schumacher. “The road was perfect. He did not blow a tyre. The only non-normal thing that day was when he veered away from me.”
Chew was conscious after the crash but said he couldn’t move anything below his waist. He was diagnosed with a broken neck and flown by helicopter to Akron General Hospital where he has since undergone surgery. Doctors say they will not know the prognosis for several days.
Chew’s nephew, Steven Perezluha, has set up a fundraising page at YouCaring to try and raise money for hospital bills.
He explains that Chew does not have a nine-to-five job. He lives with his mother in the house in which he grew up so that he can pursue his million mile goal. He is famous for his ability to live on a shoestring, running chains until they have at least 15,000 miles on them and using tyres until they are worn through. “Keep the overhead low, and the mileage high,” is Chew’s mantra.
At the time of writing, over $28,000 has been raised.