Chaz Hayden grew up in New Jersey and was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy when he was three months old. Doctors told his mom that he wouldn't live to see his first birthday. Chaz’s strength and motivation were definitely harnessed that day, even if he had no idea what was happening. His mom was undiscouraged and has fought for him every day since, bringing Chaz to doctors and physical therapists who wouldn't give up or take the easy way out. He got his first powered wheelchair when he was two years old and never looked back. Chaz went full throttle in a split second.
Since then, Chaz continues to defy the odds by starting college at the age of 15, moving across the country to attend the University of Arizona, and interning in New York City. Of course, all of these experiences came with a variety of roadblocks and accessibility obstacles, but each challenge has forced Chaz to think outside of the box and that sometimes he just needs a little help from his parents, friends, or a nurse. The best part is that Chaz gets to do all of it while riding around in a sick wheelchair.
Chaz is now a professional writer, with his debut young adult novel scheduled for publication in fall 2022. The main character has SMA! Chaz is active on his YouTube channel where he shares accessibility tips and funny stories that are expected from living with a disability.
Currently, Chaz still lives in the Tri-State area and encourages you to “Be different. Leave a trail.”
Click here to read all of Chaz's articles on SpinalMuscularAtrophy.net.