Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Due to lots of people out of the country (including myself) and everyone's busy holiday schedule, we have decided to postpone the raffle drawing until Mid January, when we will have a big black tie shindig in Ashland, Oregon and commence drawing the tickets. Stay tuned for location and time as the date approaches. Thanks for all the support, Matt appreciates it and can't wait to see everyone at the party - Darin
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I got up early that morning made breakfast and coffee for that special girl gave her a kiss and watched her head off to work. Cleaned up the dishes and sat down to get some work done for my good friend Dustin. Met up with Tony and his Uncle Jeff to shuttle Chucks Chips at around noon. 10 minutes after leaving the car we were at the first gap jump, which I had done many times before. The jump had been modified since the last time I had done it so I took a long look at it then decided to give her a go. From here things are a little hazy. I remember approaching the jump then I remember the sound of a helicopter and then the next thing I know I'm in the ER with people asking me lot's of questions. I vaguely remember being in a CAT scan machine. Then I remember Beth, Tony and Don talking to me and at this point I realized I couldn't move. Other then burning to death being paralyzed was my worst nightmare over even drowning. I distinctly remember the Dr then showing me the CAT scan of my neck and telling me that I had dislocated and fractured C6 and that he needed to operate immediately. Beth, Tony, and Don then came in to pray with me then they wheeled me into surgery. I had the distinct thought that if I couldn't move my legs that I hoped I didn't survive surgery. I remember them drilling a screw into the side of my head and then next thing I woke up in the CCU and the first face I remember seeing is Beth's. Seeing the love and concern in those beautiful green eyes I thought life might just be worth living, and then I found out there were at least 20 people waiting for me in the waiting room...life is good. The injury has left me paralyzed from the chest down. Since that day life has been a daily struggle physically, mentally, spiritually, relationally, and financially. It is safe to say that there's not one part of my life that hasn't been drastically affected, but I press on keeping my eye on the prize with the help of the loving support of my family and friends.
Life can change in an instant whether its an injury, the loss of loved one, the loss of a relationship, or the loss of your means to make a living. Why is it human nature to not appreciate something until its gone? I appreciate it now!! Do you appreciate the things in your life?
Enough of the deep stuff. I'm still working on getting the FES bike. Just need to make sure that my muscles will respond to the electrical stimulation. I'm also going to get a standing frame and a manual wheelchair. I just got a portable ramp so if you've been waiting to invite me over cuz you have steps...the wait is over. :) Oh yeah, my insurance said that a shower/commode chair is a luxury so I ordered it and paid for it directly. Now I'll be able to have a shower more than once a week. So if you have donated money it has gone to that and will go to the things listed above. If I get everything above it will total about $25,000. So thank you for your generosity. It is greatly appreciated and has a huge impact!
I've been working out at home and I continue to get stronger. Its a slow process, but its steady. I had developed some pressure sores on my heels and butt, but they have completely healed. I haven't gotten any new movement, but I'm getting stronger with what I can move.
The last couple months have been some of the hardest I have ever had to endure in my life. At times hope seemed like a dirty word that would bring nothing but pain and disappointment. I have been shaken to the very core of my existence. I've had to redefine everything in my life. I wish I could give you a cookbook answer to how I have dealt with it all. The only thing I have to offer is that I have learned that life is precious and so are the people that are a part of that life.
Now get off the computer and get out there and use those legs if you're able!!
PS: I have one question. Do anyone still read these and are they at all inspiring? Just curious.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I'm thankful that I can move my arms, that I can feel things from my nipples up, that my lungs remain healthy, that there were over 20 people in the waiting room on the day of my injury, thankful that Beth stayed the night in the ICU with me that first night, that Kyle stayed the next night, for all the others that kept me company during the nights at the hospital, the neurosurgeon was able to put me back together, that my mind is intact (well mostly), that I have some of the best friends that anyone could ask for, that I have a loving supportive family, and there's so much more that I could go and on.
Still one thing amazes is all the support from perfect strangers. It has renewed my faith in humanity! So with that I want to send a personal thanks to each and every person that reads this!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I had my first therapy session in the pool, which was awesome! It felt so good to be in the water. The therapist put floaty things on me and I was able to propel myself around the pool. I even went completely under a couple of times by request of course. Now I just need to find a pool with a lift and a couple of volunteers and I can go swimming whenever I want. Anyone?
I only have a few therapy sessions left at hospital due to my insurance. So I'm looking into other alternatives. Right now I'm looking into going to Project Walk in Carlsbad, Next Step in Seattle, or Neuro Worx in Utah.
The FES bike is still in the works. I'm also looking into to getting a standing frame and start getting the components for a home work out set up. It turns out that standing and exercising is actually good for you...who knew?
I've been thinking about the word hope a lot lately. A definition I read recently is: hope is to desire with the expectation of obtainment. This resonated with me and so I thought i would share it. Hope gives me the strength to face each day.
Thanks for all the love and support. God knows I need it!
Friday, November 13, 2009
The drawing was done by my good friend Gabe. He's a talented local artist and whipped this out in 20 minutes. Check him out.
Put in a vote for him here:
Check out his web site:
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Don't forget about the raffle:
Thank you Scott Valley...again. Over a hundred people came out for the Halloween Fun Run organized by an Etna High School senior for her senior project. Thanks Terri! I want to also thank the Sweezey's for hosting the event at their ranch.
I received the paper work for ordering the FES bike and hope to have it in my possession in about a month. Check out the bike at
if you haven't yet. I plan on getting the RT 300.
For Halloween I dressed up like a badly injured Spider Man. I'll have some photos posted soon. Then hung out with Clark Kent, Uncle Rico, an 80's aerobic instructor, a flight attendant, Hans, Frans, and a Zombie.
Its been a bittersweet past few weeks. I just sold my truck, which was good financially but was hard emotionally. That truck was a trusted friend and we had been through a lot together. From kayaking trips to Tatlow Creek to surf trips to the Straight of Juan de Fuca to back country missions off Cecilville summit to secret mountain bike missions on the preferred cycling trail to visiting that special lady friend. I'll miss you my friend. I'll never forget you.
The ebb and flow of life is a dynamic adventure that is best experienced on the narrow path. We don't always get to choose the outcomes, but we always get to choose our response. Asking 'why me?' is quite possibly the biggest waste of energy in the known universe. My hope is that I always choose this path no matter what life may bring.
KEEP THE FAITH!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Here's a link to a video covering the event.
And here's a link to the results.
Another thanks to Marissa Gillingham and the SOU women's soccer team. It was a fun event and I enjoyed watching the game. Thanks!
In therapy I've been pushing myself around in a manual chair. I do laps around the rehab center. It's kinda fun and a great work out. My arms are getting stronger, which has been very encouraging. I started the process for purchasing an FES Bike and hope to have one in my posession within a couple months.
This week was pretty tough emotionally and mentally. The weight of my cuurent predicament was getting to me. I woke up early on Saturday morning thinking about the many things I've lost and all the things I can't do anymore. I just laid there and cried for about a couple of hours just wishing I could go back to that fateful day and go around that jump. Then I forced myself to think about all the things that I'm thankful for. And it's amazing what a shift in attitude can do for ones perspective. There's many things that I miss, but I also have so many things to be thankful for.
So here's a funny story after all that seriousness. My Mom was dropping me off in Ashland to meet up with some friends. The van was parked on a steep side slope making the ramp steeper than normal. So when I exited I ended up falling forward doubling over at the waist due to the lack of ab muscles. I ended up laying on my arm that was on the controls for my wheel chair. I couldn't push myself up and was headed out of control towards the car parked next to us. Luckily I was able to shift my weight enough to turn the chair. I missed the car, but ended up going around in circles bumping into the curb on each revolution. I made three revolutions before my mom was able to get to me and sit me back up stopping the out of control mayhem that was about to get worse. Afterward we both laughed...it was either that or cry. I'm sure it was quite a sight.
I can't thank all of you enough for all the support, positive thoughts, and prayers.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Here's a photo of Matt with no neck brace. They spoke with FES bike people today and that ball is rolling! Next update Matt will have a funny story about an exciting exit from the van!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Since the last update I've had visitors from Seattle a couple of weekends, I got stranded in an elevator, my wheel chair died, and I no longer have to wear the neck brace. That's right no more neck brace!!!! It feels great to finally be able to turn my head again after 3 long months.
Therapy is going well. I'm getting stronger and stronger each day. I still have a long ways to go, but there's progress and I'm thankful for it. My left tricep is still weak, but is slowly becoming functional.
Several people have said to me that they're impressed with my positive outlook. My positive outlook is largely due to all of you. Without the love and support I'm not sure I would have made it this far. So thanks!!!!
My spirits remain high and my hope is strong! If I can encourage any of you it would be to get off your butt and go use your legs. Those things are pretty cool. Also let the people know who are dear to you that you appreciate them. Because things can change in an instance!
Keep the faith!
SOU Women's soccer team is playing this Saturday and donating some of the proceeds to me. So check it out!
PS: Excuse the grammar. No one is editing these for me anymore and I'm just an engineer. :)
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I recently purchased a van that has made getting out and about much easier (see the photo in the photo section on facebook http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=128628567393), which has also helped my psyche immensely. So, needless to say I've been taking full advantage of it. Eventually I'll be able to drive the van myself with only few modifications.
Therapy is going well. I'm getting stronger and stronger each day. I'm looking into acquiring FES Bike that will allow me to exercise my legs using electrical stimulation. Check out the web site see more about it. It's Christopher Reeve used during his therapy.
For you kayakers out there don't forget about the raffle. There's some pretty cool stuff being raffled off.
Thanks again for all the support.
Monday, September 21, 2009
This is starting to sound like a broken record, but there is just so much to be thankful for right now. Truly in the past two and half months I've been floored by all the support and people who have come out of the woodwork to help me. First off I have to thank my mom and dad for being who they are, kind and generous people themselves. I think the turn out for the Scott Valley fundraiser is largely due to them.
The fundraiser was a huge success, an awesome time, and an unbelievable turn out. I had a great time and I was completely blown away! Thanks to everyone that was there, especially Diane Pomeroy for setting this up, organizing it, and growing it from nothing into the most amazing blessing for me. So many people to thank, and still so hard to type, Mark did a great job of capturing some on the website so I'll borrow from there for now. Thank you so much for all the auction items and for all of you bidding on them. This is a huge step for me and hopefully a huge step toward me taking some steps again.
The Siskiyou Daily News captured some of the event really well I think and they promise to have more coverage soon, check out their site and thank them for the coverage!
We got the minivan and used it to haul me to the fundraiser, it's so much easier than the previous methods of strapping me into someone's car and then loading my wheelchair into a van or truck. Quite a process it used to be, now it's one car and no transfers! I love it, thank you all for making the van possible!
Thanks Brian for coming along to the fundraiser, above and beyond the call of duty, I'm so glad we met you at Providence Hospital you have been a life saver in more ways than one!
Thanks to Mark Peaty for providing the website support for the event and the following summary of the event:
Kudos and thanks to the following individuals and businesses who helped us to quickly organize and successfully host this fundraiser:
A huge thanks to Diane Pomeroy who’s energy and enthusiasm made all of this possible.
Thanks to Bob and Linda Ward for donating food, serving items, utensils, coffee pots, and many more items from their restaurant. Their expertise and experience are really appreciated. We ran out of food, which is an indicator of a good event where many more people showed up than we anticipated, but only because we ordered for 250 not because Bob and Linda didn’t bring enough.
Thanks to Etna Brewery for donating the beer. It was a beautifully clear pilsner with a nice head and a great taste. There were cases of empty wine bottles left so I think the wine sales went well also. I’ll update on who donated the wine.
Thanks to the guys that handled the serving of the drinks.
Thanks to Cliff Munson for his expert auctioneering abilities. He kept the crowd entertained while he gently squeezed just a little bit more out of each bid. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Thanks to the many, many people and high school students who spent most of the day in the park helping to load, unload, carry, and set up the many items that were needed.
Thanks to Dan Kiep for keeping the garbage cans managed and keeping the restrooms clean.
Thanks to Mike Theofanides for placing lighting up in the trees and around the patio.
Thanks to Marion Stealman and the Bluegrass Festival for the loan of the rope lighting.
Thanks to Rick Perkins for the loan of his personal PA system.
Thanks to Corky Small and KSYC 103.9 for creating some public service announcements to help advertise.
Thanks to Daniel Webster and Pioneer Press for all the free press that was given about this cause and event.
Scott Valley and friends greatly exceeded all expectations on their generousity and love for the Thomas family.
by Mark Peaty
Monday, September 14, 2009
* Wildwood Crossing and Coffee; Etna
* Scott Valley Florist; Fort Jones
* Bob’s Ranch House Restaurant; Etna
* Fort Jones Hardware; Fort Jones
* Kay Hanley @ Scott River High School (am) & Etna Elementary (pm); Etna
* Diane Pomeroy @ Quartz Valley School
* Mark Peaty @ Scott River High and Etna High School
* Joy Edwards @ SVUSD District Office; Main St., Fort Jones
* Suzy Marshall @ Scott Valley Berean Church; Etna
* Mike Thomas @ Matt’s house in Medford
Social hour and silent auction 5:00 p.m.
Complete tri tip BBQ dinner 6:00 p.m.
Dessert and Live auction to begin at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: $15 single, $25 couple, $5 children aged 10 or under
Special live music performed by Calico throughout the evening
Now for the other good stuff, I went fishing this weekend, Ryan and Red hauled me off and got me into a Ryan's drift boat. I had an awesome time. First time back on the river and not the last either!!
The only disconcerting part was the fact I was strapped into a wheelchair that weighs about 100 lbs, not that it would matter since I couldn't swim right now to save my life, but still it was a little unnerving. Anyway, a blast was had and I can't thank Ryan and Red enough for having me along for the fishing trip and my first float boat ride in a long time!
Friday, September 11, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Sorry for the lag on this update, but things have been busy. Rehab is going well and small gains are realized everyday. It’s a slow and hard process, but good nonetheless. Triceps are gaining strength, but still have a long ways to go. I'm also getting more time in the standing stand (machine that moves my body into a standing position), which is exciting. My bladder has started relieving itself, which has been both inconvenient and exciting at the same time. It’s exciting because it could provide more convenient options for bladder control down the road. I have a Urodynamics test scheduled for Friday so keep your fingers crossed. Oh, I also get my very first enema...the fun never stops.
The Shasta premiere was a huge success! Thanks to everyone who helped me get there and thanks to all who made it down to Shasta Park for the event. There even road bikers who rode 100 miles round trip to be there. Getting down to Shasta was quite the process. First, it took a few people to get me from my wheelchair and into Beth's car. Then, it took a few more people to load my wheelchair into Dustin's van. After figuring this all out, we were finally off to Shasta City, CA! My friend Isaac rode with Beth and I. Isaac is a nurse and also helped recline me in the passenger seat to avoid any skin breakdown. When we arrived, several of my buddies carefully transferred me from the car and back into my wheelchair. It was a pretty cool being on the receiving end of so much love from all my friends! It was so good to get out and the movie was great. Nice work Shon and thanks!
This past weekend, about 70 people in Cincinnati Ohio had a benefit for me at a bar called Monk’s Cove. The benefit was organized by Susan Nolan (Beth’s sister), Joe Crace and the rest of the Nolan family. Aside from Susan and Joe, I have never met the 70 people who attended this event. However, many of them are on this email group and I am blown away by their support and love for a complete stranger. They raised over $1400 during this Happy Hour benefit. I saw photos of the night and it looked like a great time. I’ve never been to Cincinnati, but I have a feeling that they know how to have a good time and sure are a generous group of folks. Thank you Nolan Family and thank you CINCINNATI (I won’t fault you for being Bengal’s fans)!!!
I've been reflecting on the last 6 weeks and all I can say is WOW! The only negative thing is the fact that I'm paralyzed. Never in my life have I felt so much love or witnessed such an outpouring of love. From my boys in Seattle who got me a Kindle (a electronic device that I can download books to so I can read) and who have visited me several times; to the folks in Scott Valley who have brought food and shown their support; to the folks in Cincinnati who threw a fundraiser for someone they have never met before; to my friends in Rogue Valley who have done so much that I can't even begin to list it…I’m truly amazed and overwhelmed. So, from the most sincere part of my heart~ THANK YOU! I would NOT have made it this far without all of YOU!
Friday, August 28, 2009
Keep him in your thoughts and prayers for recovery, he still hasn't given up and even though things are not changing a whole lot on a daily basis he's still very positive and thrilled about even the littlest things. His attitude continues to be an example for the rest of us about not letting life's circumstances get you down and to just keep trying no matter what the odds.
Social hour and silent auction 5:00 p.m.
Complete tri tip BBQ dinner 6:00 p.m.
Dessert and Live auction to begin at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: $15 single, $25 couple, $5 children aged 10 or under
Special live music performed by Calico throughout the evening
Next organizational meeting: September 9 at 7:00 p.m. taking place at the Fort Jones Community Center
Donations are tax deductible through the Siskiyou Institute 503(c) account.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Sorry for the lack of updates this week. Several of us have been busy getting the new house ready for Matt and his parents. We anticipate they will move in on Sunday. Finally, they can say goodbye to the sad little dungeon @ Providence House. Yeah!!
THE FOLLOWING IS A MESSAGE FROM MATT:
Hello everyone. Yesterday, in therapy, I stood up for the 1st time using a crazy sling and brace contraption. The sling holds me up and leg braces keep my knees from buckling under my body weight. I was able to hold 90% of my body weight. The therapists say this is a great start and I was able to do more than what most people can do their first time in this sling. Now, I want to be clear that this does not mean that I have strength or feeling in my legs. However, I am doing new cool stuff, like the standing sling, in therapy and this has been encouraging.
With the help of a wheelchair taxi van, I checked out the new house the other night and it is going to be a million times better than the closet I'm currently living in. It’s bright, open, spacious, and has a spectacular view. I'll miss the parking garage parties, but I think I'll manage ;) And I look forward to having space for friends and family to visit and take in the scenery with me.
I want to send huge thanks to the super motivated work crew that worked very hard to make the new place very homey and inviting! You guys ROCK!!! Now I don't have to live in a van down by the river. ;)
REMINDER!!! This Friday night, the Shasta Boyz will premiere their new kayaking movie as a benefit for yours truly. It starts at 7 at Mt. Shasta City Park. Let's get a HUGE crowd there. I'm going and I'm paralyzed. So what's your excuse? :) That’s what I thought…see you there!
Here is the site to see more about the event: http://sbollock.blogspot.c
Also, please check out the ad on Craigslist re: my truck for sale….
Also, a great big thanks to the folks in Scott Valley for meeting this week and organizing a great event fundraiser for me that will take place in September.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Matt's determination and motivation grows more and more each day. Although Matt has some ups and downs, he refuses to be anything other than optimistic. One way he is staying motivated is by finding new ways to be independent. Tonight, Matt took a wheelchair taxi van, by himself, to and from a party at Talent Art Studio, hosted by his friend Gabriel Lipper. It was the first time he had been in a vehicle since the accident. Matt hung out with friends and even modeled for some of the artists as they painted and sketched his portrait (pictures will be posted soon!)
Taking these outings helps Matt maintain a sense of normalcy, which is so very important for him. Other good news: Matt and his family have found a place to live in Medford. They look forward to moving in at the end of this week!
Info re: fundraiser in Scott Valley from Diane Pomeroy:"Scott Valley Loves Matt Thomas" group is having an organizational meeting on Wednesday, August 19 at 7:00 in the Fort Jones Community Hall and are asking interested people from the valley, and also someone from Medford area, to attend to help us plan a fundraiser. We are hoping to have this even on Saturday, September 19 and at this point are asking for donations for an auction. We already have some great things, but could really use some more. And it would be great to get donations from the Medford area as well. Please contact Diane 531-468-2707 to offer suggestions or donations. Thank you
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Matt’s discharge from the hospital yesterday proved to be, well, a total junk show, (thanks in large part to our wonderful medical system). Matt and his parents moved across the hospital parking lot into the "Providence House." This is temporary housing owned by the hospital that is wheelchair accessible. This housing situation is not ideal. It's small, dark and, well, pretty damn depressing overall. BUT, luckily, it is only temporary until they can find a house that fits their needs. Unfortunately, this is not an easy task as the wheelchair accessible housing options in the Rogue Valley are quite pathetic.
The good news is that his private caregiver will start working with Matt tomorrow morning. This will give his mom and dad a much needed break from being the primary caregivers. Also, he starts outpatient therapy tomorrow. Matt is looking forward to this because the outpatient therapists will work him harder then the previous therapists did. He is excited to enter this next phase of therapy…his goals are to strengthen his arms and continue to move and stretch his lower extremities. Range of motion is key!
Certainly, Matt has had his ups and downs in the last 5 weeks, but all in all, he is simply amazing. How he can laugh at situations when most people (including myself) would want to cry is incredible. Matt has a long road ahead of him but he is still determined as ever and says he could not do this without everyone backing him up and cheering him on. Baby steps.....
If you’d like to support Matt and have a good time doing it, please join Matt and his fabulous friends for a premiere of the new kayaking film (featuring Matt Thomas) shown in Shasta, CA on Friday, August 21st. For more info, check out this link: http://sbollock.blogspot.com/
And for those folks in Cincinnati, please join me (Beth) and the Nolan family for Happy Hour @ Monk’s Cove on Friday, August 28th to raise money for Matt. Check this link for more info! http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/event.php?eid=121421071465&ref=mf
For all the kayakers and whitewater rafters out there, the wonderful Darin McQuoid has put together a raffle to help raise money for Matt. Please go to the link and buy or a raffle ticket...(or 2, 3, 4) for a chance to win some great gear!!http://mattthomasraffle.blogspot.com/
And last by not least, check out the article on Canoe & Kayak Magazine blog spot re: Matt's injury and how the river community is coming together to support him. very impressive. http://blogs.canoekayak.com/whitewater/the-riverman%e2%80%99s-code/
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Today, Matt's parents visited some different housing options around the valley. For the time being, they have decided to rent an apartment on the hosptial campus until they can find a house that works for them. Matt will be discharged from the hospital tomorrow afternoon and he will begin out patient therapy 3x/per week. Living outside of the hospital will definitely bring a new set of challenges for him and his family. But, it will also be the beginning of new opportunities for Matt and freedom from the confines the hospital rules! Bitter sweet for sure. - Beth
Monday, August 10, 2009
Many thanks to everyone who helped out and donated- We raised over $5K with only two weeks of notice to all you busy folks out there! Matt's presence was missed dearly-- we'll try to get something on the calender earlier for next year so we can get a bigger group to do it again with Matt there. Special thanks to Jim Grantland, Dustin and Brandon Knapp, Gene & Peggy Allred, and Tony Smith for the food donations. Todd Gillman, New Belgium Brewing Co., Caldera Brewing Co., and Edenvale Winery for the drinks. Sundown Poachers for the awesome music. And Ken Smith, Jason & Gene Allred, and Anita & Dave Butler for the auction items. Thanks again, and hope to see you there next year. -Kyle
And another thanks to everyone that rafted, it was a great time on the river and a special thanks to Scott Eastman for getting us all together and on and off the river without any injuries. - Neal
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Special thanks to the Allred family for organizing the event and the Sundown Poachers who played for the crowd. The only thing missing was Matt…but he promises to be there next year.
Even though most folks were down on the Klamath River, Matt still had plenty of visitors at the hospital, including his 2 best friends from Seattle. Today, he was given a “get out of jail (hospital)” pass. He cruised down the street to Mucho Gusto for lunch and went to the movie theater this evening. Ahhh, free at last….well, almost. Matt expects to be discharged from the hospital on Wednesday. He and his parents are still unsure where they will live while he attends outpatient rehab at Providence. In the meantime, they will most likely stay in the hospital’s extended stay apartments. If anyone knows of wheelchair accessible housing available in the area, please let me know.
Thanks again for your continued love and support…the medical professionals at Providence say they have never seen anything like it. It’s awesome!!!! - Beth
Friday, August 7, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Today, Matt was interviewed by the Mail Tribune (the local Medford newspaper). They asked him about the accident, what he’s doing now to rehab, his previous kayaking experiences, etc. They are coming back tomorrow to take photos and then we’ll wait for it to go to print. It will be posted under the “Outdoor” section of the newspaper so keep your eyes out for it! I’ll be sure to add the web link to this group for all you out-of-towners.
Once again, Matt started the week of therapy off on the right track. He is still working on rolling to one side on the therapy mat and hopes to master this task soon. When asked how rehab was today, he responded, “I’m exhausted and that’s a great thing. I’m more motivated [to recover] than ever.” The amount of support Matt is receiving (from every corner of the world) is really sinking in now and he is feeling everyone’s energy and love more strongly than ever. Matt wants to be sure that everyone knows how much he appreciates each one of you and all that you are doing for him and his family….old work partners, schoolmates, boating buddies, friends-of-friends, strangers, and, yes, even the wee-nids….it doesn’t matter because if you are reading this, then you are a friend of Matt’s and he is so very grateful to have you in his court….cheering him on. Thank you!
Monday, August 3, 2009
In all seriousness, I don't think my dad would have survived through July if we hadn't see this incredible response from friends, co-workers, and family. From people who have never met Matt, to those who are some of his closest friends... the response has been no different. Unconditional caring and support in a very trying time. You've allowed us all to focus on Matt's recovery and taken a huge burden off of us both financially and emotionally.
I don't want to simply emphasize the financial matters, but I'm not sure all of you even understand the impact here. My parents make very little money as school teachers in a rural area, and my brother has been unemployed since Thanksgiving. With facing the costs of rehabilitation and relocating to Medford my parents would have been facing some really tough choices in how they would all survive this situation and be able to keep giving Matt the best attention. Thanks to Terry at Providence they were able to expedite both his Social Security Disability paperwork and Medicaid paperwork. Also Matt's previous employer was able to get Matt on to COBRA thanks to a reform measure that was passed in February which extended his eligibility. I know this may be boring to most of you, but I assure you it is nothing short of a miracle that he is on COBRA and this event will be covered by that insurance (well a large portion of it) and Medicaid is kicking in already which will help cover some of the expenses outside of the hospital in getting Matt a accessible place to live and reimbursements for some transportation costs.
While we're still looking at pretty substantial expenses outside of those coverages, the picture has been made less bleak by your donations. Basically what you've allowed is time, every dollar that has come in has bought more time for us to research options, to look for housing, to come up with a plan for recovery and for how to take care of Matt in the interim. There are so many decisions to make and to throw worrying about paying for everything on top of that would be even more overwhelming. Every little bit that comes in is a huge help and allows us freedom to just focus on doing what is best for Matt right now and not worry about money.
I want to make sure everyone knows every cent that comes in (aside from the fees PayPal charges) is going to be put to good use. Part of it is going to the COBRA insurance payments (we only have to cover 35% of that his employer has graciously covered the other 65% through September) and the rest is being saved for other expenses (hopefully his wheelchair van, he really wants some independence and is hoping to get mobile again soon).
There's another fundraising event, the date and time has not yet been set, but keep on the blog and we'll let you know. It's a movie premier (with Matt in some of it kayaking) taking place in early 2010 in Mount Shasta. In the meantime if you're going to attend the Jefferson Sate Rehab Event please RSVP by tomorrow at the latest so we can get a final count especially for the rafting. Dinner we may run out of beer and spaghetti if we don't know how many people are coming, but you're welcome to show up and donate and at least listen to the band even if you don't RSVP.
Thank you all again really, amazing support, please keep it coming if you are able it has made a world of difference already! - Neal
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Friends from Montana are coming to see him this weekend, which he is very excited about. Matt loves all his visitors….thank you! Best times to visit in the hospital are M-F, 5:30pm-8:30pm and weekends.
Looks like Matt may discharge from the hospital in a little less than 2 weeks. He and his parents will then move into a home in the Rogue Valley and continue with outpatient therapy. He is looking forward to this change and feels that the outpatient therapy will push him even harder to succeed.
How ironic- seeing the similarities between this current challenge and the challenges he faced in kayaking...both physically and mentally. Needless to say, his kayaking experiences have prepared him well for this new challenge.
***Have you RSVP'd for the State of Jefferson River party in honor of Matt-AUGUST 7-8?!? See you there!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
(p.s.-Matt typed this himself via his new typing device).
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
1) Matt has agreed to sell his Tundra. It is a 2002 4x4 with high miles about 240,000. He owes about $8900 which is about what it is worth. It runs well, but needs front brakes. Perhaps you know someone who might be interested, or could put it on craigs list for us. The truck is parked in the parking lot at Providence for pictures/ test drives. Mike has the Keys in Matt's room (3010).
2) Could someone do research on vans, etc. for wheel chair use with lifts. Particularly interested in a Dodge Sprinter(they have Mercedes diesel engines so get about twice the mileage of typical vans). Looking for prices, where to get a vehicle outfitted with a lift, etc.
3) Could someone check out "Mobility Unlimited"(its in Medford) and the person's name is Bruce Hoff. it is some kind of charitable outfit for disabled people.
This is the info that I received from Mike-- If you have questions about any of these assignments, you can send me (Kyle Allred) a message, and I'll try to get more info for you about it.
P.S. Thanks for all the recent donations and thanks for the research on Project Walk everyone!
Monday, July 27, 2009
For those of you who to visit Matt, please offer to help him with range of motion. It’s a good skill to learn, easy to do and makes a big difference!
In the last few days, Matt has begun to experience muscle spasms in his legs. This is common for people with spinal cord injures. It does not necessarily mean that he is regaining sensation in his legs. According to the nurses, this only means that he is coming out of “spinal shock”. Interestingly enough, spinal shock often lasts 4- 6 weeks post injury. Matt is only a little over 2 weeks post injury. We don’t have any answers as to why he seems to be “coming out of spinal shock” more quickly than the average person with a spinal cord injury (although, my hunch is that it’s because he’s part-human, part super-hero.) Never the less, we hope it’s a sign that he is healing quickly and pray that sensation will start to return!
From Cincinnati to Idaho to Seattle to Oregon to Southern Cali and beyond….keep spreading love and support to Matt and each other. Send prayers and positive vibes Matt’s way….please focus on Matt’s body regaining sensation and movement….from his head to his toes!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
With this figure in mind we really need to start focusing our efforts on applying for grants. Your kindness is deeply felt and appreciated!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Full details can be found at:
Please RSVP by confirming at the event page attached to this site, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, sending a facebook message to Kyle Allred, or calling Allegra at 541-261-9369.
Questions can be directed to any of those places as well.
Additionally, if you know anyone who would like to donate food, drinks, raffle items, etc. please use the contact info above! Thanks-
Today was a good mellow one for Matt. He stayed up a little later than usual last night watching a movie and chatting with friends. But he slept well and caught up on his sleep with a mid afternoon siesta. Matt had a positive morning visit from his surgeon- who on his way out said, "We gotta get Matt in a Kayak again." Matt got a break today from the intense therapy yesterday, and says his left arm is almost pain free now and slowly getting stronger. His inhalation strength continues to improve tremendously and he is taking less pain medication.
Matt continues to be overwhelmed by the wonderful support you all have provided. Matt often checks his lap-top computer to read emails and messages from this group ...They mean a great deal and keep em coming!
The hospital food continues to be less than ideal, so home cooked meals and healthy take-out food are wonderful ways to help. (Bring any extra to Mike and Jeanie since they rarely leave Matt's room).
Continue to support and pray for Mike and Jeanie as they have been so faithful and strong. And big props to Beth for all of her support and giving the daily updates for Facebook and the Blog!
Friday, July 24, 2009
Matt is focused on the ultimate goal, but is starting to find the healthy balance between the end goal and making the most of each and every day. In other words, Matt is learning the value of patience.
The future plan (4 weeks away) is for Matt and his parents to rent a wheelchair accessible house in the Rogue Valley and continue Matt’s rehab therapy on an outpatient basis. If anyone has any leads on a house that is available to rent in the Rogue Valley, please let me know. They are open to housing outside of Medford, such as Phoenix or Talent, too. In fact, housing away from the city would be most therapeutic for all of them.
MATT’S INSTRUCTIONS: Matt appreciates everyone’s extra prayers and thoughts directed towards his left tricep. He asked that everyone continue to focus on his tricep; that it gets stronger and stronger each day.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Thank you all again for the donations, they are really helping to ease some of the stress and emotional toll of this whole event. They are allowing us to focus on Matt and his recovery and not the expenses that we need to take care of while we wait for any government assistance to come in (which could take 6-8 months and in some cases 24 months). We've been told his applications for assistance are being expedited thanks in a large part to the hospital staff so we are very grateful for their assistance in this as well. Everyone at Providence Hospital in Medford is doing everything they can to help Matt and get him on his feet. They are definitely a hospital that cares for their patients and we are so blessed that he was brought there.
Keep my parents in your thoughts and prayers as well for the strength to keep up with Matt and his recovery. Thank you all again, your kindness continues to go above and beyond all expectation.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Well, true to form, Matt Thomas is kicking some serious butt in rehab therapy. He pushed himself hard today and accomplished several new goals: He stayed up in his wheelchair for almost 3 hours, learned how to use his new power wheelchair and held himself up on the therapy mat using his arm strength. And to top it off, he still had enough energy to take a little evening stroll outside the hospital via his new power wheelchair. Tonight was the first time Matt has been outside since the accident. Yeah, FREEDOM!!!
The power wheelchair will be a huge benefit to Matt. It allows him more independence and dignity.
The rehab therapists say that Matt is ahead of the game and making strides. They explained that most patients need to build up their muscle before the therapists can really start to work with them. But since Matt is a young, strong guy with great upper body strength; they are able to start right in with the hard stuff.
Matt can’t thank you all enough for your continued love and support. He wants to be sure that you all know,”you are all freaking awesome!”
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Enjoy and thanks for your continued support….and special thanks to all those who have donated to Matt's support fund or added Matt to prayer circles and church services and to those of you who do not know Matt personally, but are praying for him and his family.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
The next step is to improve Matt's nutritional intake- also a key component for recovery. The hospital food is sub-par, at best...home cooked meals seem to really hit the spot. Food (especially home cooked) feeds the body and spirit. So, if anyone in town is interested in cooking a meal for Matt and his family, please let me know! email@example.com
Thank you, thank you!
Friday, July 17, 2009
Needless to say, they will work him to his max each day. So, every solid night of sleep he gets and restful nap he catches during the day, will help to enhance the effectiveness of his therapy sessions…which leads to better recovery.
Strength, endurance, determination and the will, attitude and stubbornness to keep pushing himself beyond what is known to be possible are all traits that Matt possesses. But on the really tough days ahead, he may need some reminding. Over the next several months, please help remind Matt of why we love him so much and that ANYTHING in life is possible. Thank you for continuing to hold Matt in your hearts and sending great vibes to his pinkies! It truly makes a world of difference.
“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”
~Charles R. Swindoll
Some things to mention:
1. The number of people visiting Matt each day is wonderful and really lifts his spirits. Matt is a “people person” and it’s important that he connect with you. Your support helps to recharge his batteries. However, the nurses have requested that visitors say their evening goodbyes by 8:30pm. The hope is that he can quite down earlier and have a better chance for restful sleep at night. Thanks for your help with keeping Matt on the nurse’s good side! ;)
2. Currently, Matt and his family do not have the time to research “spinal cord injuries”. If anyone has information regarding contacts, resources, technological advances in stem cell research, treatment options, recovery stories, etc., please send it my way! Finding out about other options, new technologies or success stories serves as a great comfort and support to them.
If you have any information you’d like to share with them or some time to do some research that would be wonderful. You can email the info to me or add it as a link to this group. Sharing this information with the group could be of great benefit to all of us. Knowledge is power!
Good night. Rest well.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
As for his health, his vital signs remain stable, lungs are clear and O2 saturation levels are within range on room air. His right arm is still stronger than his left. No changes regarding the feeling in his chest. It is likely that the physical and occupational therapy will be the most exhausting and strenuous experience his body has ever been through. So rest will be crucial during this time.
MATT'S INSTRUCTIONS: Continue putting positive thoughts and prayers out there! Feel free to use your creative flair...cheers, chants, songs, pictures, poems or whatever else you can think of to get his LEFT TRICEP moving and help push him through the rigorous therapy sessions. Please note the new blog spot listed now has links to see some of Matt's crazy kayaking adventures. Also, there is a place to donate money to help Matt and his family pay for medical equipment and nursing services, now and in the future. Matt's road to recovery might be a long one, but it's lined with beautiful people cheering him on. You all give him a tremendous amount of strength. Thank you, thank you!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
MATT'S INSTRUCTIONS:Since his lungs are looking so good, Matt has asked that we concentrate on helping him to regain strength in his LEFT TRICEP. If he can get the strength back in his left arm, then therapy will be alot easier and he will be able to do more things for himself. With much gratitude,Beth
Monday, July 13, 2009
***MATT'S INSTRUCTIONS: Today, please focus your efforts, prayers and energy on giving Matt the strength to cough and breathe fully and deeply. Pray for clear looking lungs on the next x-ray. The sooner he gets out of the CCU and into the Inpatient Rehab Unit the better!Matt's nurses and therapists have been outstanding. He is in good hands. Thanks to all who visited this weekend, especially those of you from out-of-town. MATT'S QUOTE FOR THE DAY: "I can feel the love and it's strong." [Referring to everyone's prayers, thoughts, visits, cards, emails, etc.]
Sunday, July 12, 2009
July 12, 2009, 6am Update:
Matt had a great night. He slept very well and his lung function has improved. Also, just in the last 12 hours, his left arm has gained more strength AND he can now move some fingers on his right hand!! His mom and dad will arrive today (they were in Greece when the accident happened) and his good friend RT, from Seattle, is flying in today...Matt is VERY excited.Matt sends his love. Be encouraged and be happy....he is doing great.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
*INSTRUCTIONS FROM MATT: Matt has asked that we all focus our energy, thoughts and prayers on specific goals in order to create a more powerful, unified voice/energy.For now, he would like us to send healing energy directly to the effected part of his spinal cord (@ C6/C7) and send positive thoughts to his pinkie fingers. His goal is to feel his pinkie fingers in the next day or so. Matt might not be able to feel his legs right now, but he can feel our love....so thank you and keep it comin'!
Friday, July 10, 2009