Chad Waligura Unites Texans with Adaptive Hunting and Fishing
By Lisa Wells, Cure Medical
Anative of El Campo, Texas, Chad Waligura is the CEO/Editor of Able Outdoors magazine that provides adaptive product information and adventure articles for people in the outdoor world who have disabilities. By providing information on hunting, fishing, travel and other activities like adaptive clay shooting, Chad aims to bring the entire accessible outside world into one place as a helpful source for people who want to get back to the outdoors after experiencing a mobility challenge.
Chad is also a certified peer counselor and founding member of the TIRR Peers program at TIRR Memorial Herman Rehabilitation Program in Houston after he experienced a spinal cord injury in a diving accident when he was 17 years old.
A familiar face at the Houston Abilities Expo, Chad loves sharing his passion for the outdoors with Expo attendees along with more advice that can help improve your life after spinal cord injury too. Nearly every weekend, you'll find him outside with friends who roll, teaching the basics of adaptive hunting and fishing. During the Houston Expo, you can meet Chad in person at the Cure Medical booth #915.
Man on a Mission: Chad Was Determined to Return to the Woods after SCI
"Thirty-one years ago, I dove into a swimming pool, and my world changed forever," Chad remembers. Chad hit the bottom of the pool and broke his neck at C-7, but never considered he wouldn't be able to participate in outdoor sports because of his injury. However, when he searched for adaptive outdoor equipment, he discovered how little was designed for people who have mobility issues or hand dexterity challenges, making it difficult for him to return to hiking, canoeing, hunting, fishing and other outdoor related activities.
"I began to develop my own equipment through trial and error and truly realized just how little adaptive equipment was available," Chad explains.
"That was one of the reasons I started writing, publishing and distributing Able Outdoors. Fortunately, today more people with disabilities are getting back into outdoor sports, and more companies are building products for people with disabilities to use when they go outdoors," he continues.
How to Find Adaptive Hunting and Fishing Equipment
"So much has changed since I was first injured in the mid-1980s. Now, social media provides more videos, stories, photos and entertainment for people with disabilities. The work individuals have done to make people more aware of people with disabilities and the accommodations needed for them has paid results. People with disabilities can participate in outdoors activities that 10 or 20 years ago may have been impossible. I no longer have to make my own custom equipment to hunt, fish, hike, photograph and travel into the back country," Chad recalls.
For those who are interested, Chad provides descriptions and locations for adaptive hunting and fishing equipment on the Able Outdoors website. View the product articles or call Chad at (979) 541-4954 to learn more.
The Houston and Dallas Abilities Expos are also a wonderful place to discover these adaptive aids too. Houston Expo exhibitors like Abilitee Adaptive Wear, Accidentally Accessible, AdaptaFit, Dive Pirates Foundation, Easy Access Travel, and Paralyzed Veterans of America/PVA Publications can also help you with accessible outdoor excursions, outfits and activities.
Chad Pays it Forward as a Cure Advocate
As a C7 quadriplegic, Chad was sent home from rehab 30 years ago with a suprapubic catheter that greatly restricted his ability in the outdoors along with his daily schedule. He also experienced ongoing UTIs and recurring pain from bladder spasms. That's why Chad made the personal decision to have Mitrafanoff surgery two years ago, allowing him to self-cath independently through a stoma.
"I first heard the word "Mitrofanoff" about 5 years ago. I didn't really pay much attention to it at the time, though I should've, because I suppose I wasn't mentally ready yet," Chad recounts.
"For decades, I'd been living with bladder spasms, dysreflexia and UTIs that were becoming progressively worse. When these issues worsen slowly over a long time period, you just don't realize how bad it's gotten. Remembering that Mitrofanoff had something to do with the bladder, I eventually began looking into it," he explains.
"Specifically, my self-education process began after I was released from the hospital following my second UTI that required IV antibiotics. I knew then I needed to make a change. Years of taking oral meds had produced resistant bacteria in my body, and I wasn't going to spend the rest of my life ping-ponging between ER visits, IVs and hospital stays," Chad says.
Like most people, Chad would much rather spend his time anywhere else other than the hospital. You'll catch him most days working with his champion hunting dog, Vegas.
Watch Chad Explain How He Caths After Mitrofanoff Surgery
Learn more about the pros and cons of Chad's Mitrafanoff surgery here.
"The day I cathed for the first time in my doctor's office after having the Mitrofanoff procedure, they sent me home with about 10 different catheters to try. There were several brands to choose from, all sized 14 French, with varying means of lube and different shaped tips.
After a month of trials, I settled on the Cure Medical 16 French straight catheter. As a quad, I felt it was the easiest for me to use and the 16 French size drained faster than the smaller 14FRs because of my stoma," Chad concludes.
To request free samples of the Cure Catheter® or any Cure Medical catheter, contact your local distributor of quality healthcare products, or click here.
Note: Surgery is a big decision for anyone. Chad felt the Mitrofanoff procedure was his best option to maintain his independence and active lifestyle. However, Chad's opinions are his own, and this article is not presented as medical advice. For informational use only—consult your physician with questions about Mitrofanoff surgery and whether it is right for you!
Meet Chad in person along with his special guests, Rollettes star Steph Aiello plus adaptive skiing expert Chris Collin as they lead a peer group get-together at TIRR rehab hospital on Thursday, August 1, 2019! After this complimentary community event, we invite you to join us for more fun at the Expo. Get your free pass to attend here.
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