In 2007 my life was the same as any other 16 year old, attending school and playing sport, I was a keen water skier, a competitive motocross rider, competing at state and national level and generally was involved in all sports.
On the 29/04/2007 I was competing in the NSW state Titles in Wagga Wagga, which I was coming 2nd, the event was called off due to weather, my parents and I went to a friend's property in Bringelly on the way home and I decided to have a ride on my bike while we were there. From then my life has changed, I had an accident and suffered a dislocated neck leaving me a C5/C6 incomplete quadriplegic.
I was sent to hospital to be operated on, where I spent 6 weeks and then to Royal Rehabilitation Centre for a further 10 months of rehabilitation. Whilst in rehab I was contacted by the Starlight Foundation offered to grant me a wish, which at the time was definitely something to brighten my day. I wished to meet Casey Stoner at Phillip Island Moto GP, My wish was granted, and in October 2007 I had the best weekend ever. Starlight provided air fare, accommodation, hire van to get me around and got to spend plenty of time with the Ducati racing team and best of all spend time Casey Stoner.
Since that time I have put a positive attitude on everything I do.
Once I returned home from rehab I returned to school and finished my education, completed a traineeship in business management, got my driver's licence, which has enabled me to get around and have been working for the last three years, 3 to 4 days a week as a spare parts interpreter at Western Motorcycles in Penrith.
My sporting enthusiasm is still as strong as ever and my father has modified various things for me, including, modifying a car for me to drive, made a water ski, converted a single rowing scull, modified gloves so I can pick things up and so I can do training, modified rifles so I can target shoot and hunt and modified off road buggy for me to enjoy and maybe race.
I attend the Royal Rehabilitation Centre when asked to give motivational talks at the centre whenever a young client is there. They get me to bring video of all my activities and my car, so we can show them that anything is possible and that just because you're in a wheelchair the world doesn't end.
I am forever setting new goals for myself to achieve and ever since getting my buggy my goal was to cross Australia. As you can imagine I was only 16 at the time of the accident and I haven't seen too much of Australia and what better way to see it.
My goal is to raise money for ROLL101, a charity I have set up to provide practical and emotional support to young people seriously affected by chronic or terminal illness or by catastrophic injuries. Click here to read more.
To set off from Kalgoorlie WA to Cobar NSW in my buggy.
Steve Richards - Ambassador for Chads Challenge and Roll 101
Another video from the weekend such a good weekend
Chad at Vehicle Components in Brisbane.
Thank you to Vehicle Components for their support!
To achieve my own goals, of driving from Kalgoorlie WA to Cobar NSW all off road, in my buggy, to camp on the side of the road and to do things that make people realise that being in a wheelchair doesn't stop you from living a normal life.