NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — A California man is turning heads and wheels as he makes his way across the country to promote spinal cord research.
11 years ago, Chet Dyreson suffered an injury that left him in a wheel chair.
Now Dyreson is on a mission.
He wants to raise awareness for spinal cord research and he is using a gas powered wheel chair he built on his own get the message to the public.
“I am getting a lot of honks and waves,” said Dyreson. “A few trains have gone by and honked at me, it about knocked me out of my chair. It has been real positive. I have had people calling and e-mailing me. They are looking up the web page that is on the side of the box van.”
His wheel chair is anything but typical. It can reach a speed of 55 miles per hour and gets 100 miles to the gallon.
He wants the reason behind his journey to be what people remember the most.
“People do not know how to approach people in wheel chairs,” said Dyreson. “Because people are in wheelchairs they have a stigma attached and they hold up. I want them to get out and live life. Life is not over it is just different right now.”
Dyerson says funding for spinal cord research is severely underfunded and that needs to change.
“The more people know about it the more popular it will become and then we can force our congressman to back legislation to get more funding for spinal cord research,” he said.
Dyerson’s two sons are traveling with him as he spends eight hours a day on his motorized wheel chair and averages 175 miles per day.
He’s currently making his way across Nebraska and hopes to end his journey in Washington D.C. on the Fourth of July.