Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Chanda Plan to hold health expo at DU

photo portrait

Chanda Hinton started a nonprofit to bring alternative care to wheel-chair bound people. PHOTO BY: Peggy Dyer.

Chanda Hinton nearly died. Twice.

When she was 9, a gun went off in the home of a family friend and the bullet entered the back of Hinton’s neck, severing her spinal cord. She became a quadriplegic.

Two years ago, at 22, Hinton started dying again.

“I was in constant, chronic pain,” she remembers. “I lost so much weight that I had to enter the hospital. I was on a feeding tube and so many painkillers … but doctors couldn’t find out what was wrong. They just kept throwing medication at it.”

When a doctor finally said that there was “nothing evidential” wrong, Hinton’s sister, Crystal, a yoga instructor, stepped in. She said Hinton was suffering from a “lack of love” toward her body.

“She said to the doctor, ‘Imagine if my sister were to get physical therapy and care that complemented her body instead of just sitting in a wheelchair and taking pills?’”

Hinton began physical therapy, therapeutic massage and acupuncture.

“I improved dramatically,” Hinton says. “I contacted Medicare to tell them I was doing so much better and to see if they’d cover the treatments. I thought they’d say yes because they were paying less since I was so much healthier!”

Medicare refused to pay for the alternative treatments, launching Hinton on her life’s mission:  the Chanda Plan, a nonprofit aimed at bringing alternative care to wheelchair-bound people. Hinton’s organization is hosting a Healing Expo on the DU campus Sept. 15, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at Craig Hall. The event includes speakers Sue Frederick and Matthew Sanford as well as Indian classical musical performances by Ty Burhoe and Roshan Jamal Bharitya. Tickets are $30 and include parking and lunch.

“The Chanda Plan will spread the word about alternative treatments to disabled people and help them to receive it,” Hinton says.

Hinton became Miss Wheelchair Colorado in 2005, giving her an opportunity to speak statewide about alternative care. Hinton (BA ’05), had majored in communications at DU. When her reign was over last year, she focused exclusively on the nonprofit.

In its first year, the Chanda Plan raised enough funds to help five individuals receive complimentary treatments. Hinton says they will identify five additional people to receive treatments, but their main focus this year will be to fundraise for the foundation’s long-term plans.

In addition to funding treatments for individuals, the organization aims to build a facility where people with disabilities can receive treatments and exercise in a fully accessible environment.

“I was sitting in a wheelchair taking pills, never moving,” says Hinton. “The body is made to move and when you do things that complement its natural needs, you heal.”

To register for the expo or to read more about Hinton’s journey, visit:

This article was updated from an article that originally appeared on
DU Today earlier this year.

Comments are closed.