Highway 35

Meeting Disaster Head-on with Hope

Chris and Denise Arthey
(29 customer reviews)


Pages: 256
ISBN: 978-1-910012-83-3
Publication Date: 05/04/2022

Encompassing tragedy and despair, resilience and redemption, Highway 35 is the kind of story that awakens hope in the lives of anyone it touches.
Pete Greig, 24-7 Prayer

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. Leaning on the support of their family and friends, and above all their faith, the Artheys returned to their vocations, and Chris has taken in marathons and triathlons, Mount Kilimanjaro and Everest Base Camp, and a master’s degree along the way. 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.

Format: Paperback

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 on 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.

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What people are saying

Additional information


Foreword by Pete Greig, 24-7 Prayer
1. Highway 35
2. First responders
3. Alive on arrival
Miracles still happen
4. Family
5. Texas church family
6. Family gathering
7. Not alone
8. Resurfacing
Working all things together
9. Through the valley, Denise
10. Through the valley, Chris
I know that you’re with me
11. A very different road trip
12. Setbacks
13. Encouragement
14. Fears and doubts
True worth
15. Prayer and project management
16. Going home
Why me? What now?
17. Disabled in an able-bodied world
18. Perseverance and hope
19. Game of marbles
20. New legs
21. The legal maze
22. Return to Highway 35
23. Sentencing trial
24. Restitution
Justice, mercy and grace
25. The long and winding legal road
26. The power of goals
27. The air beneath me
28. Triathlete
29. 26.2 miles – a long way on one leg
Desires of our hearts 220
30. Postscript: What those Artheys did next
Take heart



29 reviews for Highway 35

  1. Nathan Goodearl (verified owner)

    I have met Chris and Denise a couple of times and recently found out about their book via a mutual acquaintance. I was vaguely aware of an accident they had and I am simply astonished at their account. What remarkable people! The book describes the events on that awful day and the aftermath of adjusting to life with horrific injuries. However, the true story is one of forgiveness. I found myself shaking my head in disbelief at how they found the strength and love to forgive. The accident is part of life story but it is not their identity; they have not let it define them. A truly inspiring story that will leave you reflecting on your own life but also living it fuller.

  2. Julie Hazlewood (verified owner)

    This book is one of the most compelling stories I have ever read. Their strength and determination to over come such horrific injuries and their ability to forgive is both humbling and inspiring. In my opinion their story should be compulsory reading for anyone caught driving under the influence of drink or drugs and really should be read by anyone who drives.
    Anyone who does not read this is missing out on something special.

  3. Jon Walk (verified owner)

    Just finished “Highway 35: Meeting Disaster Head-On With Hope” from Chris Arthey and his wife, Denise.

    The Artheys spent five years with us here in The Woodlands community and were an inspiration to so many people before and after an accident caused by a drunk driver found Chris and Denise both losing their left legs as a result of the impact to the motorcycle they were driving and riding on.

    The story winds you through their challenging recovery as well as how they leveraged their faith to make their new paths as rewarding – but in a different way – of the lives that they had richly enjoyed before.

    I didn’t meet Chris until Chapter 27 in the book (or maybe some time in Chapter 26), but still remember measuring off a separate Bill Crews Remission Run 5K course for Chris that was all concrete after he had received a new running leg that we didn’t want to see him use in the grass portions of the main course. Or even so he could just simply participate.

    I also later had the joy of capping off his first race as a para-triathlete with a high five as the finish line announcer at CB&I in The Woodlands in May 2011.

    This will be a detailed, yet inspirational read that you’ll enjoy.

    You’ll also find yourself occasionally – if you live in the States and don’t have a lot of British friends – looking up British words to make sure you know what Chris and Denise mean when they write and tell their story.

    Sweet, kind and encouraging people.

    Even though they’ve been gone from us in The Woodlands, Texas community for almost 10 years now, who they are makes it seem like they left Texas just yesterday.

    You’ll be amazed all they overcome after reading Highway 35

  4. Carol Clutton

    WOW! What a story – what a book! I was gripped reading this book – the strength, determination and resiliance of Chris and Denise is just astounding. I am reminded throughout this book of the importance of community, faith, hope, love and forgiveness – easier said than done but the Arthey’s have nailed it!

  5. Mike Stanbrook (verified owner)

    I’ve just finished reading the book. Excellent! Whilst I knew bits of the story Chris and Denise put it across beautifully. I love the naturalness of them involving their faith. The whole thing shines humility, honesty and glory to God.

  6. Sally Webster (verified owner)

    A remarkable testimony (and a compelling narrative) of what our great God does through two souls resolutely surrendered to Him with a ‘nevertheless’ style faith.
    Honest, deeply challenging, moving and captivating in its detail of how we can approach and navigate through great adversity. Read it.

  7. Debbie Scheller

    I couldn’t put this book down. Having heard a taster at Emmaus Road church I was eager to buy this book. It was full of hope and perseverance and trusting in God throughout the highs and lows. What a courageous couple. Thank you for sharing your story and I pray it will touch hearts in a special way.

  8. Bonney Bullen (verified owner)

    Highway 35 is a must read for anyone facing challenges in their life. It is a miracle that Chris and Denise Arthey survived the horrific motorcycle accident that took both of their left legs when a drunk driver hit them head-on, but survive they did… and then some!

    The Artheys take you on a journey of physical, mental and emotional recovery with an openness and honesty that allows the reader to consider how they too can respond in the face of immense difficulty.

    With a combination of personal
    determination, an unwavering faith in God, and the love and support of friends, family and the many professionals they met along the way, they have gone on to show that such a disaster can be overcome.

    Their story has encouraged me greatly during my own struggle with mobility issues following a serious leg injury. It took me through the ups and downs of the daily challenges the Artheys faced and the raw reality of the emotions that are lived through. Their example of strength and resilience, rooted in faith and love, has inspired me as I grapple with my own challenges.
    It has caused me to look at how I can cope better in my personal situation, and has spurred me on to greater things.

    Written in such a way that it allowed me to access all the physical technicalities and thought processes the Arthey’s experienced, Highway 35 took me on the journey with them, to a place of self examination. When I consider what they have been able to achieve in the face of such adversity, I am more determined to push on and use their example as motivation to be an overcomer myself.

    Thank you Chris and Denise for putting your amazing story on record and allowing me to learn from your experience.

  9. Paul McCormick

    Highway 35 is an inspiring and gripping account of restoration against astonishing odds. Chris and Denise both suffered horrendous injuries in a motor bike accident and this story of recovery, in both body and spirit, is inspirational, despite each of them losing a leg. Their unwavering faith in Christ throughout and the prayer support of their local church and family was a major factor in their recovery. What followed was their dogged determination (and especially for Chris) not to allow a physical disability to be an obstacle to achieving challenging endurance tests. Yet in the face of such adversity and destruction they found the compassion to forgive the person who caused the accident.

  10. Danny Marsh (verified owner)

    A powerful inspirational page turning true life story.
    A great book to give to non Christian friends

  11. Joelle Tamraz

    Chris and Denise Arthey were leading normal lives on the day they headed out for an iconic motorcycle ride on Highway 35 in Texas. Motorcycles had been a lifelong passion for Chris, and Denise was happy to join in the ride, reliving happy memories of their student years. With all three of their children out of the home, it was the perfect time to embark on an adventure.
    Until it wasn’t.
    Thus starts the harrowing and inspirational account of their nearly fatal accident and extensive recovery period. Every aspect of the couple’s life was turned upside down on Highway 35, yet together, and through the support of their friends and family, they found the strength not only to survive but to thrive.
    Theirs is a candid, clearly written account that offers insight, feeling, hope, and faith. The reflection sections interspersed between the chapters are particularly meaningful. I highly recommend this beautiful book and will return to it in the future.

  12. mojdeh hawksley

    Compelling and inspiring! Honestly and openly written. Full of treasures for ordinary people who struggle with hopelessness, issue of forgiveness, lack of motivation to persevere.

  13. Anne Stiles

    The video started playing and all we could hear was the pounding feet of a runner as the forest trails slipped by on a warm summer afternoon. Slowly the camera panned out and the runner came into view. To my surprise the runner was an amputee!
    It was about five years ago that I first met Chris and Denise Arthey. They were standing at the front of our church in Guildford, giving their testimony. They opened with the video clip and, not knowing anything of their story, I
    was completely shocked to realise that both Chris and Denise were above- knee amputees. The video went on to briefly detail their accident and subsequent recovery. By the time Chris and Denise started speaking, I
    was completely mesmerised.
    As a medic, I know the problems that amputees can have with their stumps. Tender skin that was never intended to take the pressures of walking, let alone distance running. However, it was not only that that impacted me, but also their calm, happy faces, without even a hint of self-pity or unforgiveness.
    But let’s go back and start at the beginning. It was May 2008 and the Artheys had recently moved to Texas, USA, on a job assignment for Chris as a project engineer. They were in their mid-fifties and ready for their next adventure as their three children had all flown the nest. Chris, an experienced motorbike enthusiast, rented a Harley-Davidson and off they went down the Gulf coast, with Denise riding pillion.
    On a straight section of Highway 35 a drunk driver swerved over to their side at 80mph and hit them almost head-on, throwing them both onto the mercy of the tarmac. Chris suffered severe head, leg, arm and internal injuries. Denise’s left leg was almost completely severed, her arm was broken, and she was losing blood fast.
    The emergency services swiftly swung into action and within an hour both Chris and Denise were airlifted by helicopter to the nearest trauma hospital. On arrival they were both ‘critical’. Denise’s leg was unsavable, and she had an emergency amputation. Chris was put into a medically-induced coma with multiple injuries, especially his left leg.
    Over the coming days in intensive care, Denise started to improve. She was able to start to comprehend the horrendous accident and what it might be like to live as an amputee. Strangely, her grandfather had been an amputee and she had grown up seeing prosthetic legs as quite normal.
    Chris, however, was in a much worse condition. His leg was becoming gangrenous and poisoning the rest of his body. He was still deeply unconscious and unable to consent to surgery, so Denise had to make the difficult decision for Chris to also have an amputation, knowing his great love of running.
    With his left leg now removed, Chris improved and was finally moved off the critical list. However, his brain injury had left him confused and unable to do even simple tasks. Family and friends rallied around and spent hundreds of hours supporting them both in those very dark days.
    What followed were months of rehab and slow improvement, initially in a wheelchair and later on prosthetic legs. Adapting was hard – there was the reality of being an amputee and now ‘disabled’, as well as the trauma of the accident itself.
    Remarkably, at no stage did either of them ever carry any bitterness towards the drunk driver. Built on a lifetime of faith in Christ, both of their hearts were able to forgive and even reach out to the man when they later met in court. Terribly remorseful, he was deeply moved by their forgiveness.
    Six months after the accident, Chris had improved to the point that he was able to return to work. A further year on and he made his first tentative steps back to running, using a running blade.
    It’s now fourteen years since the accident and Chris and Denise have become personal friends at church. Never have we seen any hint of self- pity or bitterness. Chris is even back to running marathons and triathlons – not bad for a man in his late sixties on one leg!
    Despite their terrible accident, Chris and Denise have made an incredible recovery back to living life to the full. Their secret? I believe it to be their hearts of forgiveness, their strong Christian faith, having each other for support, as well as a refusal to wander down the road of self-pity. What an example!
    They wrote Highway 35 together, complete with touching and insightful reflections, on what happened to them and what can be learned from it. I heartily echo Pete Greig’s words in the foreword, ‘Whatever struggles you are facing, I am confident that there is something here for you.’
    Reviewed by Dr Anne Stiles

  14. Folake Ekundayo

    If you struggle to forgive someone, read this book. It is practical.

    If you struggle to come back from a disaster with hope, read this book.

    I personally know Chris and Denise Arthey, and even though I heard some tidbits of their story, as the title states, this book does indeed take you through the challenges of meeting disaster head-on with the hope that their Christian faith supplies in detail. It is raw, inspiring and thought-provoking about the reality of the aftermath of the accident, recovery and their life-changing injuries along with the support of their families, both biological and Christian. Chris and Denise take you through their incredible journey of grace, forgiveness, strength and the practicalities of dealing with bureaucratic healthcare systems.

  15. Phil Marlow

    This is a compelling account of two people who came so close to death through a tragic road traffic accident while on a motorcycle road trip of a lifetime. The Artheys speak candidly about the huge challenges they faced in recovery but also of their faith in God and how that inspired them and gave strength. It is a story of hope – both in terms how Chris and Denise have rebuild their lives and of forgiveness and reconciliation between them and the intoxicated driver who drove into them.

  16. Vanessa McMurtrie

    Highway 35 by Chris & Denise Arthey
    Meeting disaster head-on with hope
    This Surrey based couple have jointly written their account of recovery from a near fatal motorbike accident that occurred in Texas, US in May 2008, just a few hours into their life-long dream to take a US road trip on the back of a Harley Davison. A drunk driver ploughed into them head-on. Both suffered life changing injuries: each had their left leg amputated above the knee and Chris also sustained serious head and internal injuries.
    Chris and Denise tell their story with help from those either involved in or immediately after the accident, as both had lost their own memory of that day. What is remarkable about their recovery is their sheer perseverance in the face of adversity and the lack of anger toward the drunk driver. As the chapters progress the reader learns about their experience of the intertwined American medical insurance and hospital systems and of the criminal and civil courts; their determination to recover is infectious as their lawyers battle on and their blood-relatives, friends and church family rally to support them achieve truly remarkable outcomes. As a couple they literally walk each step of their recovery together. What does not break them simply makes them stronger, as a married couple and in faith. Chris even goes on to run marathons, compete in triathlons and climb mountains.
    Extracts from the Bible are interspersed throughout the book, but don’t be put off. This is not a Bible bashing autobiography. The forward is by Pete Greig, another Surrey based man who describes their story as “utterly inspirational” written by “ordinary people…who get up each morning and keep going, against the odds, in spite of extraordinary challenges…” If you want an example of love (human and divine), honesty, forgiveness and determination, the Arthey’s have it.

  17. Edwina Young (verified owner)

    An enjoyable read. A heartwarming tale of two intrepid and indefatigable travellers who meet injustices with grit and determination mixed with tolerance and love for their fellow man. It has touches of a John Grisham novel as they try to fathom the injustices of the American legal system, as always mired in politics. Above all it’s a tale of faith both in their Church family and friends but also in each other.

    Sent from my iPad

  18. Brian Borgford

    Pure courage and inspiration.

    Very well written, but tough to read and absorb. It’s hard to imagine how anyone could endure such a tragic and life-altering event, let alone come out the other end stronger.

    The detail described in the book about the accident itself and the painful recovery and rehabilitation is so well put together, I was compelled to consume every word.

    It is clear that Chris and Denise used their faith to help them through these tough years, but they definitely don’t push their faith on others in the telling of this story.

    It was alternately pleasurable and painful to read, but totally inspiring.

  19. Alison Cattermole

    Chris and Denise – Having read Highway 35 I have to say that I am lost for words, and that doesn’t happen very often! Your story, recovery, determination and endurance touched me in ways I cannot describe. I am not a religious person, and I was grateful that although this is central to your lives, it didn’t detract one iota from the narrative, but rather informed me of your own personal motivation and inspiration. An amazing story, brilliantly told. Thank you.

  20. Simon Robertson

    Raw and gutsy journey faced with much warmth and God’s Hand at work
    What a triumph over potential disaster! No lingering pity parties for Chris and Denise just the determination to get to grips with their new reality and an unshakable trust in the God they knew who would take them through it and work it all for good even when that seemed the most unlikely of endings. Told with candour and grit but with their own amazing humour and palpable love for each other and the God they serve. I spent most of my reading time crying, some of it laughing but left it with a deep admiration for my brother and sister in Faith who until recently I had not met. It was well worth the read, thank you both.

  21. Lynne Blackler

    Highway 35 is a must read. Chris and Denise Arthey have written a beautiful book sharing their story of a dream trip that turned tragic and of their road to recovery. I had the honor of getting to know them while they were being cared for at Christus Spohn Memorial Trauma Center in Corpus Christi. The strength of their faith was apparent from the start. This is a beautifully written and inspiring account of the massive challenge they faced and how they met it with strong faith in God and the love and support of family and friends.They share this account to give God the Glory and to encourage others in whatever challenge you may be facing.

  22. Peter Jackson

    This book is a remarkably raw, candid, and inspirational story of courage, determination and hope. Chris and Denise share with brutal honesty about the pain, difficulties and struggles following their devastating accident and above the knee amputations. They are equally honest about how they were helped to miraculously overcome through their faith, the strength of their relationship, and the extraordinary support and help of family, friends, neighbours, church, medical staff and many more. Their ability to go on genuinely expressing forgiveness to the one who caused the accident is truly remarkable. I am confident that there is something in this story for anyone who is facing any kind of problems or struggles.

  23. Mark Paris

    As a biker (and having met Chris at a social event) I decided to buy the book as I wanted to know how he and Denise coped with such an awful accident.
    It is truly an inspirational read, and brutally honest too.
    Of course, they were not alone in their struggles, which is one of the most powerful themes throughout the book.

  24. Lauren Crook

    A wonderfully powerful read, full of inspiration, laughter and challenge. I couldn’t put it down and I would recommend it 100%.

  25. Chris Grimes (verified owner)

    I have had the pleasure of meeting Chris & Denise on a few occasions and this book really touches a nerve. Written with candour their courage and faith comes through in spades and it is an easy read about a tragic accident with life changing results. It gives everybody hope when all seems lost

  26. TimG

    An awesome tale of the consequences of a life changing event for Chris & Denise. Endurance, determination, perseverance, guts, and faith. A long and unexpected journey met head on by the Artheys. Their strength love nad forgiveness humbles us all.

  27. Don Tocher

    I met Chris & Denise a couple of times at Motolegends breakfast motorcycle meetings. We have since become great friends. They are lovely people & truly inspirational! With the extent of their injuries, many people would have given up but they have both risen above their disabilities to greater heights and achievements. Their faith shines through their book, and is truly an inspiration to us all. I love their book & can highly recommend it – enjoy!

  28. Jan & David Vousden

    Any one of us could experience a life-changing accident, diagnosis of a serious illness or worsening of a medical condition. How we deal with it will determine the quality of our future life. Chris & Denise are a shining example of how it’s possible to create a positive life out of a devastating situation. It certainly wasn’t easy but together they found ways to overcome each hurdle and demonstrate how powerful it is to be able to forgive and concentrate on recovery.
    This is a book which is easy to read and difficult to put down. If you only read one book this year, choose the inspirational Highway 35.

  29. Fee

    I was very impressed to read this book. What struck me most was how genuine it feels when it conveys what must’ve been such a hugely challenging experience. I have bought a copy to lend to friends. I felt privileged to read their account and wish them every success.

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About the author

Chris and Denise Arthey
Chris and Denise Arthey

Chris Arthey worked as an engineer and project manager in the oil industry and Denise was a teacher. Following the incident and their remarkable recovery, Chris and Denise returned to their vocations, determined to not let this prevent them from doing what they love. Today, they are ambassadors in the prosthetics industry, helping with testing, training and research. They both lead active lifestyles, with Chris becoming a para-athlete competing in marathons and triathlons, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and trekking to Everest Base Camp. They are regularly asked to share their story with a wide range of audiences.