Who is Patrick Chapin? You know him as the happy, energetic President & CEO of Business High Point-Chamber of Commerce (BHP-CC). In his first five years of leadership, he has played an important role in groundbreaking change throughout the city, helped our business community navigate a global pandemic, and spearheaded some of the biggest initiatives High Point has ever seen. He’s done it all with a smile on his face and a kind word for everyone he meets.
What you might not know is that Patrick’s passion for driving transformation, serving his community and inspiring people to fulfill their potential runs deep; and started long before he took on the role of championing High Point’s business community. He has embodied these values his entire life. Nowhere is this more evident than in his tradition of taking on a big—and we mean BIG—personal challenge every year.
It all began when he became an uncle.
In December of 2001, Patrick’s niece, Blair Chapin, was born. She was a beautiful baby girl—and one of only 40 children born with Sanfilippo syndrome in the U.S. each year. The rare and incurable genetic disease affects the body’s ability to break down sugars, which then accumulate in the cells and tissue causing debilitating damage. By six, Blair had lost her ability to communicate verbally. Soon after, she could no longer eat solid foods, and by her teens she had lost most of her physical mobility. But through it all, Blair never lost her wonderful smile, hearty laugh or infectious spirit.
“Everyone who met Blair felt it,” Patrick said. “She had this amazing spirit. It’s something I think about every day, and I want to carry that spirit into the world.”
And carry it he does, both mentally and physically. Blair’s strength and courage in the face of tremendous obstacles inspired Patrick to test his own limits. He decided to raise awareness for Sanfilippo syndrome by pushing himself to take on extraordinary challenges each year, thus honoring Blair and inspiring others. Learn more about Blair's story
In 2012, he scaled Mount Kilimanjaro. In 2014, he completed a rim-to-rim-to-rim run across the Grand Canyon in a single day. In 2018, he ran the Andes Mountains from Chile to Argentina. And in 2020, he reached the peak of Ojos del Salado, the highest volcano (22,615 ft.) in the world. Other years have included challenges such as completing marathons, ultramarathons, adventure races and several full Ironman races. Through it all, he carries a purple flag marked with the names of children suffering from Sanfilippo disease.
In 2016, Patrick and his “courage flag” embarked on a different kind of quest. Instead of pushing the limits of his own life, Patrick took the leap and decided to save someone else’s.
Dave wasn’t a close friend of Patrick’s. He wasn’t even a casual acquaintance. He was the husband of a business leader in the community, a woman named Isa whom Patrick had met in a leadership program. He was also one of more than 100,000 people on the waiting list for a kidney that could save his life.
When Patrick heard about Dave’s plight on social media, he reached out to Isa and offered to get tested. Results indicated a nearly perfect match; an unheard-of occurrence for a non-family donor. On the day of the surgery, Patrick held on to the courage flag, the symbol of Blair’s spirit and the impact she made during her life.
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the kidney donation. Dave has fully recovered and returned to work and his family. Blair lived to fifteen, far surpassing the life expectancy of children with Sanfilippo syndrome. Her spirit lives on in Patrick’s ongoing quest to challenge himself and serve his community in ever greater ways. In fact, he believes the very act of serving and connecting with others helps everyone bear life’s most challenging obstacles.
“Everyone has pain in their lives,” Patrick said. “Blair, along with her sister and parents and so many others, showed how faith, family and community can truly make a difference.”
Patrick doesn’t know where his next personal challenge will take him. But as the leader of the Business High Point – Chamber of Commerce, he’s always ready to take on whatever High Point businesses need next.
“I try to live my life with courage and a smile. The whole chamber team is wired that way,” Patrick said. “We care about our members, we care about our community, we care about people in need. And we fight for them every day.”
Learn more about Patrick & Dave's story >