Inspiration Courtesy of Chad Arthur
Chad Arthur’s story is well-known throughout the Brain Injury Alliance community: In 1992, his family was in a car accident, with almost everyone sustaining life-threatening injuries. Chad was only eight and experienced a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). His sister, Kiera Flahart, and their parents have been devoted caregivers in Chad’s ongoing recovery. More on their story can be found here.
They have also been very involved in Brain Injury Alliance programs and events, including the annual Run, Walk & Roll. They have also participated in Unmasking Brain Injury, Art of our Soul BIAAZ acrylic paint nights, podcasts, and brain injury survivor classes as guest speakers. A few months ago, they attended the Brainiac Bash Soiree Supporting Brain Health.
As the family prepares for this year’s 1K, Kiera and Chad gave us a few updates.
Brain Waves: How has this past year been for Chad?
Kiera: Chad continues to complete his weekly therapy and recently bumped up his attention to doing daily stretches with a video guide to ensure proper and thorough completion. He continues to struggle with flexibility and balance but with the help of his family, therapists and medicine, is able to enjoy his daily activities. He has been cleared by his doctor to have ultrasounds as the only checkup for his aneurysm, which is great news.
Brain Waves: What would people find surprising about his journey?
Kiera: Chad presents with difficult movements on land but in the water, he is a giant fish. He loves the water and swimming in any body of water. We love going to the beach on vacations but have recently had difficulties getting him through the beach sand to the water. It usually took 2-3 family members to carry him, but as we all age it is becoming harder to do this safely.
Chad just got a new all-terrain wheelchair that has interchangeable wheels for the beach, rocks and other surfaces for easier accessibility. We trialed the new w/c out at the Renaissance Festival and he enjoyed showing it off to all of his friends. As his family, it was much easier to push through the varying uneven surfaces.
Brain Waves: How would you describe your experience at Run, Walk & Roll?
Kiera: I had liked that he can walk across the finish line after being wheeled through the course. It keeps me active and lets me enjoy another activity with my family.
I also enjoy seeing all the professionals, community and survivors coming together to celebrate the ability to cross the finish lines and to raise funds for BIAAZ.
Brain Waves: Why is your team named Superman Strong?
Chad: That’s because of our strong family and because I love Superman. His super strength gives me hope and strength to continue doing better every day. I want to be strong like my favorite superhero. Clark Kent aka Superman continues to move forward every day and I want to do the same thing.
Brain Waves: What does this event mean to you?
Chad: I love to be at this event and to see all the other people walking and rolling as well. I love to be an inspiration to others and enjoy that my family can fly his Superman Strong banner so he can be strong for others as well. Our family enjoys doing these activities together so we can help raise money for other brain injury survivors and make memories.
Chad continues to be an inspiration to all who meet him and wants to share his experience through these words.
By Chad Arthur
I think I can.
I think I can.
Be the best superman
In this crazy land.
That fateful day in the van
My story abruptly changed.
With a bump on my head,
That left me comatose
In a small hospital bed
My family praying and crying
For over 31 days
For a return to my childhood playing.
Alas that was not meant to be
For I am now the new version of me.
Jokester, prankster, lover,
Friend, child and brother.
Living my own life
And staying true to by good-hearted nature
All my limitations and pain
Will not stop me, as I will endure
Even though I have a broken brain
I am superman strong
No one can deny.
But if you tried, my family would say you’re wrong.
For trial after trial my words of
I think I can, I think I can
Have forever changed to
I know I can, I know I can.
ABOUT BRAIN INJURY ALLIANCE OF ARIZONA
The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona (BIAAZ) is the only statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of adults and children with all types of brain injuries through prevention, advocacy, awareness and education. BIAAZ also houses the Arizona Brain Health Resource Center, a collection of educational information and neuro-specific resources for brain injury survivors, caregivers, family members and professionals.
What began in 1983 as a grassroots effort has grown into a strong statewide presence, providing valuable life-long resources and community support for individuals with all types of brain trauma at no charge.
The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona:
- Works with Congressional Brain Injury Task Force
- Houses Arizona Brain Health Resource Center
- Hosts virtual and in-person support groups for survivors and families
- Has Statewide Opioid Use Disorder & Cognitive Impairment Response team with peer support, training, and family wraparound services
- Facilitates Brain Health Advisory Council
- Manages statewide Help Line: 888-500-9165