Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday, July 30th Update:

Matt continues to put everything he has into his therapy sessions. Even on his not-so-good days, he still agrees to get up, get out and bust his butt. Each day, he is still seeing small improvements in his strength and endurance. He's still working on his "roll"...almost there; he just needs a little more strength to land it.

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

Wednesday July 29th a note from Matt:

i am overwhelmed with gratitude from all the support. i am scared, but my spirit remains positive thanks to all of you. a special thanks to my family, kyle, everyone who has visited, everyone who has brought me food, everyone who has kept me company during the scarey late hours of the night, and an extra special thanks to beth. her love and support has literally been a life saver. THANK YOU. ~Matt

(p.s.-Matt typed this himself via his new typing device).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A note for Tuesday July 28th from Kyle Allred

As many of you know, Matt's parents Mike and Jeanie have been in the hospital with Matt every day since they rushed home from their trip overseas. They are giving Matt their very best love and support while simultaneously trying to research various items related to his injury. Trying to juggle the two has been exhausting for Mike, Jeanie and brother Neal (though they are not ones to complain about anything). My goal in writing this note is to take as much of the load off Matt's family as possible-- regarding specific things that Matt's support group can help with. Mike has agreed to give me a list of homework assignments that we can do to help out, and I will post them to this site when he does. Many of you are incredibly busy, so these assignments are directed towards folks who have the time to help. If this is you, please "sign up" for one of these assignments using the message board topic "homework assignments" on his facebook support page. Thanks!

First assignments:

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

Monday, July 27th, 11pm Update:

Matt recognizes that he has approximately 3 ½ weeks until he is discharged from the hospital and therefore, every minute in physical therapy counts! Today, he got closer to being able to roll to one side on the therapy mat and his arms are able to hold his body weight for longer period of time. He is also making it a priority to keep his body moving as much as possible when not in a therapy session. Matt’s goal is to make the nurses do range of motion with his arms and legs every chance they get. The more his body moves, the better!

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!

Monday, July 27th, 5pm Update:

Matt's good friend, Joe Jackson, writes for Outside Magazine and did a Q & A with him last week. It was posted today… check it out!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

July 26th Update: Rehab Costs

Thanks to all our friends for some great links to rehab programs for spinal cord injury patients. There are a few really good programs out there and a lot of great stories from those programs. I just watched a video on Project Walk's website where a girl with a C5/C6 injury just started taking her first steps after a little over a year in the program. While this is encouraging the program is somewhat costly and not covered by insurance. We're still looking for rehab options and the costs we're seeing seem to range anywhere from $35,000-$50,000 per year for a patient.

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

July 25th Update: Fundraising Event August 7th

"The Jefferson State Matt Thomas Rehab Trip." We tried to model this fundraiser with Matt’s favorite pastimes in mind; great friends, rivers, music and a good beer in the State of Jefferson. Dinner, live music from the Sundown Poachers, camping, and whitewater rafting are planned for August 7th and 8th at Paradise Point-- a 20 acre campground on the Lower Klamath River.

Full details can be found at:

Please RSVP by confirming at the event page attached to this site, emailing, 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

July 24th, 11pm Update:

Today, Matt’s physical therapists stepped the training up a notch and had him do a variety of new exercises. They also began teaching Matt how to roll his body to one side, prop himself up with his elbow and then to his arm. Although, he needs assistance to do this right now, it’s only a matter of time before he can do it on his own. Learning to do this task is the first step to being able to get himself up and sitting on the side of the bed. As you all know the left arm (tricep) is still very weak, but it is showing small signs of getting stronger each day. Yesterday, he could not lift a 1 pound weight with his left wrist. But, when he attempted this exercise today, he was able to do 4 reps!

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

July 23rd, 9pm Update:

Matt continues to work hard in Rehab and he is making small, but meaningful progress each day. The therapists are focusing on strengthening his arms and keeping his legs and joints flexible. He is able to spend longer amounts of time in the wheelchair each day and enjoys cruising around in the power chair. On Tuesday, he was able to hold 75% of his body weight up with his arms on the mat. Then, on Wednesday, he could hold 100% of his body weight up. The most exciting news to report is that his left tripcep muscle is working. The therapist was able to feel his left tricep muscle react during therapy the other day. Although the muscle is very weak, it’s great to know that it is working....this means a great deal to his recovery and ability into the future.Future Plans: The doctor expects that Matt will remain in the hospital rehab unit for another 4 weeks and then be discharged home with outpatient therapy. Thank you for all putting your energy and thoughts into that tricep!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

July 22nd 8:08PM Neal's Update:

Got to talk to Matt on the phone tonight, he sounds great, so much better than when I left the hospital last. Seeing the pictures of him outside the hospital and smiling has been a real boost for everyone (well at least for me). His voice is more normal than it was, he doesn't sound tired, or strained to talk; he really did sound fantastic! Sensation levels are still about the same, but again the spinal shock (not to be confused with the band Spinal Tap) might take as many as 6 weeks to calm down. Keep your positive thoughts coming and prayers for a speedy and full recovery.

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

July 20th, 9pm update:

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

July 19, 10pm Update:

Another great night of sleep for Matt on Saturday night (thanks Tommy G.) ....yeah! Today, he had a break from therapy and spent a nice mellow Sunday with his parents and family friends. Tomorrow, it's back to working with therapy, which is tiring but he looks forward to it. For those of you who may not know, Matt is a very accomplished kayaker. His good friend and kayaking buddy, Darin McQuoid, recently posted incredible photos of Matt running crazy whitewater and waterfalls that would make most people cry. To view these impressive photos, please go to:

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

July 18, 8pm Update:

Thanks, in part, to a delicious home cooked meal and the addition of an air mattress on his bed, Matt had his best night of sleep yet. He was able to sleep almost the entire night. He woke up feeling refreshed and ready for therapy. Therapy is going well, but it will be a slow process. Matt is giving 100% to his rehab sessions...he remains positive and optimistic.The air mattress on his bed will assist in preventing skin breakdown (imperative for someone who cannot move in bed).

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!

Thank you, thank you!

Friday, July 17, 2009

J uly 16th, 11pm Update:

Today, Matt was able to complete 3 hours of therapy in one day. As a result, he was officially admitted into the Providence Rehab Program. This means that his medical care will be transferred from the surgeon to the Medical Director of Rehab. This new doctor is well known as being THE best Rehab physician in the valley. She is well respected by the medical community and has a very skilled and knowledgeable team of therapists. This program transfer also means that Matt's days of lounging around the hospital will be no more ;). The therapy routine is very intense and, as Matt said, "The therapists might look all nice and cute, but they're hard asses!"

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

July 17, 2009, 12am Update:

Matt’s restless nights tend to make for some frustrating mornings. But, despite the lack of consistent, continuous sleep as of late, he always manages to end the day on a positive note….especially when his favorite nurses, Brian and Antonio, work with him. Tonight, he is listening to a guided meditation and imagery CD in hopes that it helps him to relax and sleep soundly. (Needless to say, this will be a first for Matt!)

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

July 15th 11PM Update:

After a restless, sleepless Tuesday night, Matt took a short nap and then rallied to have a great therapy session. Although the day didn't start out very good, it ended well and he is expecting to have a great night sleep. His buddy, Pete, is staying with him in the hospital tonight. Having someone stay with him at night is the key to Matt’s peace of mind and comfort. Thanks to all who have volunteered to help. If anyone would like to volunteer, let us know by emailing

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

July 14th 10PM Update:

Thanks to all of you for praying and breathing deeply with Matt yesterday. All of his hard work and yours made a world of difference. He is off oxygen and all IV fluids and his lungs are clear. Because of this improvement, he was released from the CCU and transferred to the Inpatient Rehab Unit at 6pm this evening. He will begin intense physical and occupational therapy tomorrow. Matt's "fan club" continues to stream into the hospital. So many folks have come to visit, that the hospital made sure Matt got the biggest room on the rehab floor. At one point this evening, there were 20 friends visiting in his room.Matt's spirits remain strong and he has never once complained about the situation he is in....what an amazing human being and an inspiration to all of us. Personally, I am blown away by his courage and optimism. Matt is so grateful for all of his friends, family and even strangers who are holding him in their hearts. Every evening, we read the latest posts on this facebook group. Your kind words and support gets him all choked up. He is still "shocked" by all of the support streaming in; the visitors, cards, food, long drives to the hospital, FB posts, etc. You are all wonderful, loving friends. Matt and his family say "thank you, thank you, thank you".

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

July 13th. 9am Update:

Good morning. Last night was a little rough for Matt due to pain and the uncomfortable C-Pap mask he has to wear which helps to maintain his lung function. They finally managed to make him comfortable around 3am and he slept for a solid 3 hours after that. The good new of the morning is that the neuro checks showed improvements from what they were on Sunday morning! Matt held his left arm in the air for 8 seconds, which is 5 seconds longer than he did on Sunday morning. Also, he has more feeling in his chest region. The nurse was very excited about this!! The goal for today is to work his lungs to that he can avoid developing pneumonia. Pneumonia would be a big set back and would guarantee a longer stay in the CCU.

***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, 2:45pm Update:

Although Matt had a good night sleep, he has been very exhausted today. The Occupational Therapist worked with him and the doc stopped by. No new changes to report and unfortunately, we have not seen any movement in his fingers, like the nurse said earlier. They are watching his lungs closely and making sure he practices coughing and does his lung exercises every hour. His parents just arrived...they will be having some much needed family time now.I'm learning that this whole experience will be a long process with many ups and downs. We will embrace the good moments and stand by him during the not so good moments. Thanks for your continued love. You are amazing support.~Beth

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

July 11, 2009 Update:

Matt's Quote today: "I'm going to recover 100% and I'm not going to stop until I do." (That's our Matty!)Today was a good day! Matt's pain was under control, he drank alot of fluids (he especially loves fruit smoothies from the Co-op) and ate a little too. The movement in his arms are getting stonger and more controlled. Although, he still cannot feel anything below his nipples; he has regained a little more feeling in his fingers. This is HUGE and we are all celebrating the little victories.Matt's spirit remains strong and continues to think only positive thougths. Friends and family continue to stream into the ICU to visit Matt. He is "overwhelmed with all of the support."

*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 thank you and keep it comin'!

Friday, July 10, 2009

July 10, 2009 Update: Specifics of the Accident

Matt was mountain biking in Southern Oregon with friends yesterday. He attempted a new jump, went over his handlebars and landed on the back of his neck. As a result, he fractured and dislocated his C6/C7 vertebrae. He had emergency surgery @ Providence Hospital in Medford Oregon. He is currently in the ICU and will begin working with physical therapy today.At this time, he does not have feeling/movement from the chest, down to his legs. However, Matt is showing small signs of improvment in his arms. Last night Matt could only move his right arm. This morning, he was able to almost fully extend his left arm too. Matt is encouraged by these small improvement!Matt is determined to recover and his spirit is strong and healthy. He is grateful for all his loving friends and family....both near and far.Matt's quote from last night: "Life is precious, it can change in an instant. But I'm alive and life is good."