Legendary flatland rider Chase Gouin, 39, has been diagnosed with internal fungus and a parasite.
According to a letter from friend and fellow flatland rider Brandon Fenton, "A DNA laboratory in the U.S has diagnosed [Gouin] with fungus inside his whole body (cells, tissues, bloodstream) and a parasite. These organisms consume most of the nutrition and vitamins from his food so they cannot produce useful energy. This is called a malabsorption disease. Because of this, his immune system is very weak and now many normal substances in the environment cause him to have severe physical reactions."
Fenton, along with Gouin, appealed to the BMX community for help in financial funding to pay for treatment for Gouin, who now lives in Windsor, Ontario. "Just for the record, I fully realize that i have not been an active/popular or relevant rider according to modern flatland, and I do not expect that the sport owes me anything. I am simply in need of help," said Gouin on Monday.
According to Fenton, "Chase was exposed to toxic levels of mold in the basement apartment where he was living for over five years and unknowingly breathing in the mold spores has made him very sick. The parasite is possibly from many mosquito bites he received when he was in Panama, in November 2008."
Gouin has since moved into a new apartment and is doing everything in his power to combat his afflictions, but is in search of an integrated medical professional, which is not covered by his health insurance in Canada.
"Chase is in financial debt due to the costs of searching for real solutions to these rare illnesses. He has been suffering for 20 months with toxic headaches, a feeling of cracking pressure and pain in his face, many sinus issues, along with chronic fatigue and weakness leaving him unable to function normally," said Fenton.
The Athlete Recovery Fund has agreed to aid Gouin with some expenses, and Gouin's close friend Ryan Quinn has also set up a Paypal donation fund to aid Gouin with his recovery. Donations may be sent via paypal to the following address: email@example.com
Originally from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Gouin moved to York, Pa. in 1989 to pursue flatland riding alongside Kevin Jones, Mark Eaton and the Plywood Hoods. With Jones, Gouin helped to develop new styles of riding, including regular and opposite scuffing and balancing, and figured heavily into Eaton's "Dorkin' In York" video series. Throughout the early '90s, Gouin rode for Homeless Bikes, Standard and Hoffman Bikes, and moved throughout the U.S. to continue developing his brand of flatland riding.
Gouin was the subject of a 1994 documentary by Ells Bells Productions known as "Ded" (riding brakeless at times) and after legal troubles in the U.S., moved to Europe for a period during the late '90s. Ultimately, Gouin returned to the U.S. and Canada, riding for Morales, followed by Gouin Bikes and OG Bike Company.
Gouin filmed a flatland segment for Mark Eaton's "Dorkin 10" in 2001, and began working with Odyssey BMX shortly after, designing signature parts, including the Frequency G tire, Gouin flatland forks and Chase Gouin handlebars. Gouin also writes poetry, known as "Rows," in his spare time.