Update on Chad

Chad Cunningham_BlogMy colleague Jackie Orihill interviewed Chad Cunningham last year for a story in the easterseals.com Love, Dating, Relationships and Disability series, and today we have an exciting update to that story.

A little background first: Chad was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 18 months old. His parents were told he’d never walk, but while receiving therapy from an Easter Seals center in Peoria, Illinois, from age 18 months through 18 years, he belied that prediction. In his interview with Jackie, Chad
acknowledged that in some ways, dating was a bigger hurdle to overcome than learning to walk:

“I’d think, ‘Oh my gosh, is my date going to notice [that I have a physical disability] as soon as I get up from the table, and will that be the end of the date? How long will it take her to notice my disability? Will she accept me?’”

Jackie described Chad as “brawny with a big heart,” and said he didn’t start dating until his mid-twenties, when women started asking him out. He realized that the biggest barrier to his dating had been attitude. He’d been so concerned about being defined by his disability, and judged for it, that he wasn’t being open about it. From the story:

He decided to not be afraid to talk about his disability.
“My biggest dating advice to anyone with a disability is to love yourself first, respect yourself, and be willing to share who you are and where you want to go,” Chad says. “Don’t be afraid of rejection and keep the faith. The right person is out there.”

Sure enough, the right person was out there for Chad: he met Kindra in 2012, and when we caught up with him this year we found out they got married in August! Kindra’s three-year-old daughter Lydia calls Chad “Chaddy,” and they’re excited to grow their family– a baby is on the way in June. Congratulations, Chad, Kindra and Lydia!


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