Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 30, 2009 Update: From Matt

First, I would to thank everyone for all the support and love. This has been a tough journey and couldn't do it without it.

I recently purchased a van that has made getting out and about much easier (see the photo in the photo section on facebook, 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

September 22nd Update: Wow, thank you all so much!

The following is an update from Matt:

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

September 14th Update: On the river again!

The Scott Valley Fundraiser is coming up quickly, please let us know if you're coming by getting your Pre-sale tickets from one of the locations below or by calling Diane Pomeroy at (530) 468-2707 or you can always get your tickets at the event:

* 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

Fundraiser @ Etna City Park on 9/19
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

The following is a message from Matt:
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

September 10th Update: Matt drinks from a cup by himself!

The following is a slightly embellished message from Matt:

For the first time since the accident I drank from a cup all by myself! It wasn't a straw or sippy cup either so there! A huge relief for me and for anyone who eats with me, because now I'm not reliant on asking someone for a drink everytime I want one. Now if I can just figure out how to drink out of a beer bottle by myself; there is always more to achieve around here.

On August 29th I went out to the Britt show to see the Avett Brothers in concert. A big thanks to Judd Hanna who got the tickets and had the idea in the first place. And a huge thank you to Dustin and Eva for the ride, which these days is no small task. Super fun!!

Labor Day weekend my brother and his fiance flew up for a visit from Los Angeles. I spent most of their first day in town at the doctor's office, but we had a good time Friday night drinking Red Truck wine and eating some homemade lasagna from Katie Morris. We sat around talking about how amazingly generous everyone has been and talked about the possibility of getting and FES bike. Neal brought me up to speed on the donations coming through the blog from all sorts of people that have never even met me. I still get choked up at the idea so many people out there care about my situation and have been willing to help.

Saturday night we headed out for my first night on the town in Ashland since the accident. We had some good Italian food at Pasta Piatti and the Allred's joined us there for dinner. After that we headed around the corner to the Paddy Brannan's Irish Pub for my first night out in Ashland. Eric Danson brought along the video camera to capture the first outing for the documentary we're working on. An enormous thank you to my dad for the ride in to town and staying up late to come pick me up again. The scaffolding ramp system into the back of the truck really worked and no got hurt loading and unloading the wheelchair... Oh Lord won't you buy me a wheelchair van (forget the Mercedes Benz)!

Sunday afternoon they loaded me into Beth's car (thank you so much for loaning us your car, the power seat option for the passenger made the whole trip possible) and we headed out to Crater Lake National Park. It was a big weekend for me, two big outings and still no wheelchair van, but we're making it work so I don't go stir crazy at home. The lake was beautiful, but I was really looking forward to getting back home for some pizza and a visit with Danson!

Sunday night we had a good time over pizza and some more Red Truck wine. We had some good laughs at the expense of Kermit the Frog and then Danson shot some video with my brother for the documentary project. Busy weekend all the way around!

Doctor Update: Dr. Alstadt says things look good and half my neck brace was removed. One more month and everything is removed. Woohoo!

Don't forget about Darin's raffle, some awesome kayak gear up for grabs!

There is a big fundraiser going on in Scott Valley September 19th. Some amazing auction items have been coming together for the event, get your tickets now!

A special thanks to Mark Peaty for putting together the website and to Diane Pomeroy and Palm Malmberg for organizing this event

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

September 9th Update:

A very positive and exciting note, the Hoyer hydraulic lift came today so my mom can finally get Matt in and out of bed alone. It will also make transfers in and out of bed for the caregivers easier and safer for Matt too. The most dangerous activity Matt faces each day is the transfer in and out of his wheelchair and bed. Quite a dramatic change from the dangers he faced before the accident, but no less dangerous I can assure you. Matt is still the adrenaline junky he always was, you should see how fast he drives that wheelchair!

Another positive note, Matt began receiving disability payments on an expedited schedule (normally it can take six months to kick in). The bad news is the first month payment was $35 which is all they will give you while you're in the hospital. The next month is going to be around $600, which obviously doesn't cover much when we're spending just $900 a month on home care helpers to take care of Matt every night so my parents can sleep. Basically you get two hour naps all night long with Matt. There are two regular care givers who have been coming pretty regularly, Brian and Tia, they have been life savers. They get paid next to nothing and still come with a smile on their face and help Matt almost every day. This freed up my dad to go back to work and my mom can have a little time for herself again.

If we can get together enough money Matt can get some serious rehab started. Check out this MSNBC story from a few years ago about the FES bike.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 Update:

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!

Love, Matt