Local college student raising funds for wheelchair-accessible van

Posted at 5:19 PM, Jul 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-18 19:01:31-04

THREE RIVERS, Mich. – Chandler McBride, 19, a former football star and track athlete, suffered a freak accident just before his senior year of high school. Now he will be starting his sophomore year at Grand Valley State University; he’s defied the odds and never let any prognosis define who he is.

“I know with my injury I had a lot of time sitting in the hospital bed to think, to pray, to ask questions to everyone. You really just have to get the mindset and do it and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t, no one,” said McBride.

Pushing himself during three physical therapy sessions every week, McBride is overcoming major health obstacles after he dove into his friend’s pool and broke his neck.

“They were telling my mom that I was going to have to be on assisted breathing for my whole life; then assisted eating, I’d have to eat through a tube and stuff like that,” McBride told FOX 17. “It was just a ton of bad things that we heard right off the bat. But I didn’t believe any of those things.”

Chandler is studying personal finance at GVSU and said he’s strengthened his muscles enough to take his own notes in many of his classes. But he said he won’t settle just for that.

“There’s always room to improve, and I don’t like to set standards for myself. So it really, to me there’s no other choice,” said McBride.

Along with his unrelenting motivation, McBride and his mother told FOX 17 that he would not be able to get to campus and be nearly as mobile without their van; but they need to replace it.

They said a used van like the one they currently use could easily cost between $30,000 and $60,000, and said they need help.

“(The van has) got over 200,000 miles. So it’s getting us place to place right now but it’s not guaranteed; we can go out there right now and try and start it now, who knows,” explained McBride.

McBride is focused on living as independently as he can but relies on the van for transportation between home and school; and both he and his mother said the van is on its last leg. The family will be holding fundraisers and raffle drawings. If you’d like to help, you can contact the family through their Facebook pages Chandler McBride Care Page or Chandler McBride Van Fundraiser.

Here is another website to help with Chandler’s family’s fundraising efforts: