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Motorcycle road trips across the United States were a lifelong dream, and now, with children grown up and a new work posting to Texas, it finally seemed within reach for Chris and Denise Arthey. But only a few hours down the road, on an arrow-straight stretch of Highway 35, devastation struck. A drunk driver veered across the carriageway and their Harley-Davidson was involved in a head-on collision. One medic commented after the air ambulances lifted off that ‘the motorcyclists may not make it’.
The Artheys did ‘make it’, and then some. Both lost their left leg above the knee, and Chris suffered serious head and internal injuries, but their survival was remarkable.
Even more remarkable is the story of their recovery. As Chris and Denise learned to cope with pain and a new reality, they simply refused to become physically held back, or to be frozen in anger and regret. They have gone on to lead extraordinarily full lives; returning to their vocations and taking another overseas posting to the Middle East before building new roles as ambassadors in the prosthetics industry. Chris has taken in marathons and triathlons, Mount Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp and a master’s degree along the way.
With an honesty that is both raw and vulnerable, the Artheys take us on their unique journey of hope against all odds, explaining how they rebuilt their lives, ‘step by step’, after their accident. More than a compelling story of survival, Highway 35 is an account of astounding personal strength and fighting spirit, of depth and integrity of relationship and uncompromising faith in the face of the most difficult of challenges.
“Whatever struggles you are facing, I am confident that there is something here for you.”
Pete Greig: 24-7 Prayer International; Emmaus Rd Church, Guildford, UK