Chad Crittenden was born on a military base in Oceanside, California. Growing up in Half Moon Bay, California, he discovered a love of sports and the outdoors, particularly soccer and fishing.
Crittenden attended Half Moon Bay High School, where he participated in many sports (soccer, tennis, bowling, fishing, running, mountain biking) as he pursued a collegiate future.
After high school, Crittenden decided to work at a local community college before pursuing studies at the University of California at Davis, majoring in International Relations with an emphasis on world resources, the environment and Spanish. Upon graduation, he accepted summer day-care jobs that ultimately led him to an after-school tutoring program. From there, he accepted an offer to head a new bilingual tutoring program in San Jose. Two years later, an internship where he taught a bilingual second grade class launched his career.
In 2002, Crittenden went to the doctor to have a lump on the bottom of his foot removed and discovered find it was a cancerous tumor. Synovial Sarcoma is a rare and deadly form of cancer (comprising less than one percent of all cancers) and amputation was necessary just below the knee. His recovery was miraculously quick, and he completed a triathlon nine months after the surgery. After many prostheses and much development, about a year after his surgery, he felt that he had almost reached his post-surgery potential, and sent in a tape to CBS to appear on Survivor.
As he'd predicted, Chad realized his dreams of appearing on the show and had a great run. If you are reading this - you probably have seen Survivor Vanuatu (season 9), and know that Chad was voted off 9th as the result of a tribal merge. Chad fell victim to a strong female alliance and became the 2nd member of the jury after 27 grueling days.
After his Survivor experience, Chad took a leave of absence from teaching to pursue all sorts of opportunities that awaited him while he stayed at home with his two Children Trevor and Clara. The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) sponsored Chad for triathlon, which he's been doing ever since - with an average of 2- 3 races per season. Chad has also worked with the Sarcoma Alliance, hosting races and getting the word out to help raise money for Sarcoma awareness. Wintertime means snow, and since the early 1990s this has meant one thing: snowboarding. Adaptive Action Sports (AAS) has been another great organization to be involved with and this group has helped Chad and other amputees compete in snowboarding at the USASA Nationals the past several years. In the 2007 season, AAS brought a group of advanced snowboarders (who happened to be amputees) to Windell's Snowboard camp at Mt. Hood. OR. Chad went on to compete at the USASA Nationals Snowboarding competition in Copper Mt., CO, where he won a bronze medal in Halfpipe, and a gold medal in Slopestyle. Chad completed the NYC Marathon in 2009, and in 2012 reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro as part of the CAFrica expedition which raised over $140,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
Chad has been cancer-free for over ten years now; he's been a motivational speaker, a consultant, and in 2015 returned to his career as a teacher. He loves the adventure.