Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Chanda Hinton Leichtle, here’s what you should know about Chanda…
When Chanda Hinton Leichtle was 9-years old, an argument over popsicles would alter her life forever. Visiting with family friends, she and two 14-year old boys were playfully arguing when one of the boys sarcastically suggested they should shoot her. The other boy, not knowing the gun was loaded, pointed a gun found in the house at Chanda and pulled the trigger. The bullet severed her spinal cord.
Now an adult, Chanda has spent much of her life quadriplegic. The journey, however, she says she would never change, even if she could.
“There are many people that ask would I do it all over again and I would say absolutely,” she says. “I mean, there’ve been these devastating moments, but there’ve also been these most amazing experiences that I just wouldn’t give up.”
Most of the devastating moments she mentions came between the ages of 9 and 21, when Chanda dealt with her new life circumstances in the most traditional of ways: learning to adapt by treating her condition with Western medicine and practices. Not knowing any better, she was forced to manage her health – and the struggles associated with living with paralysis – with pain meds and traditional care that didn’t seem to be working.
But once she was introduced to integrative therapies at age 21 by her sister, a yoga enthusiast, Chanda’s life began to change. With the incorporation of yoga, along with acupuncture, physical therapy, and massage, she focused on improving her health in new ways. The result was not only a new life for her, but the start of a foundation that would assist others who needed physical and financial assistance for their health care. The Chanda Plan Foundation, today, provides assistance to persons with disabilities by offering access to the very integrative therapies that made such a difference in Chandra’s life.
“I just said, this is ridiculous,” she says, recalling her frustration with the lack of resources for integrative therapies at the time. “Insurance companies are not funding it, and therefore we need to have an organization where people can access funding to access the integrative therapies. So that’s why the Chanda Plan Foundation came about.
“The ‘plan’ piece is more about grassroots health care – that there’s a plan to bring integrative, preventative health care – not only to persons with disabilities – but to our entire country. Because able-bodied people need it just as much as persons with disabilities.”
Today, as a result of a comprehensive focus on her health using integrative therapies, Chanda is able to not only run a foundation, but enjoys an active lifestyle that includes hand cycling, deep sea fishing, rock climbing, and kayaking. It’s a full life that was reborn at age 21 with a new perspective on what’s possible in the world of medicine and therapy.
“I do think the huge shift [for me] was when I went to that first acupuncture appointment,” she says. “I knew that it was going to affect my health and then the clarity that I had around it was just so clear to me that I think that’s when everything just sort of kick-started. Because as soon as I was healthy, that’s when I became a badass, seriously. Health allowed me to become the badass that I wanted to be.”
Below is the video of Johnny interviewing Chanda.
Download audio MP3 file (Right-click and choose “Save Target As…” or “Save File As…”)
Transcript coming soon