Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Progress - Money - The 300

Matt Thomas is making HUGE gains in his recovery at Project Walk at superhuman speeds (read: Spartan style training). He is transferring himself to a car seat and has moved from using a power wheelchair to using a manual one. These are unbelievable feats for someone with his level of injury, frankly, unheard of. What he is doing is more incredible than 300 Spartans altering the course of history by holding off the Persian Horde at the mountain pass of Thermopylae.

While Matt's battle is truly epic, it is a costly one. He is running out of money and needs us to make an ongoing pledge to support him. If 300 of us brave souls will pledge $20 a month for the next year to Help Hope Live in Honor of Matt Thomas we will help jettison Matt to recovery. So come with me and join the 300! FOR MATT! FOR WALKING! FOR SPARTA! FOR SWAG TO DONORS! (details coming)

If you would like to set up a recurring, tax deductible, donation through Help Hope Live in honor of Matt please click here:


If you would like to learn more about Matt's story and make a tax deductible donation click this link:


If you would like more information or if you have any questions please feel free to email

Help Hope Live is a nonprofit organization that has been assisting the transplant community for more than 28 years and the catastrophically injured community for more than 13 years. Help Hope Live provides fiscal accountability and donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Please consider making a contribution today. All proceeds go to help Matt’s recovery.

Thank you,

Friends of Matty T

Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by the law. This campaign is administered by the Help Hope Live Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing fundraising assistance to transplant and catastrophic injury patients. Information: 800-642-8399.


I was working on a write up I did a while back about that dreadful first day and was thinking it would be good to take a little glimpse at my progress over the last couple years.  Click HERE if you would like to read about that first day.  I think its good to look back once in a while to see how far I've come and thankfully I've come a long way!  Thanks for your support and encouragement it would be impossible without you!!  Here's a quick review of the last couple years.

3-1/2 years ago - I hiked 11 miles with 100 lbs on my back to go kayaking in the high sierra's.

2-1/2 years ago - I dislocated C6 in a mountain biking accident, which left me paralyzed from the chest down with very limited use of my arms.  In fact, in this picture I still couldn't move my left arm at all.

 Through the amazing support of my friends and family I kept a smile on my face.  Here my friends broke me out of the hospital for a pizza and beer party in the hospital's parking garage.

June 2010 first day at Project Walk.  Let the pain and hope begin.

 December 2010 - return to Project Walk.   That's 16 pounds.

April 2011 - Made the move to a manual chair.  I now have power assisted wheels that help me out a bit, but its still a work out!!

November 2011 - Putting up 60 lbs, which is a 275% increase!!

2012??  Anything is possible.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


This is so long overdue that I'm actually embarrassed by it. So right off the bat I need to thank a few people. Joe Jackson and Shaggy McLaughlin were instrumental in making The 3rd Annual Klamath River Benefit Bash happen and to be an amazing event!! Joe and Shaggy this would not have happened without you!!! I'd also like to thank the Allred's for providing the location, the AWW guides for working the kitchen, and Beth for bringing the salad. I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting.

Furthermore, I'd like to thank all the businesses for their generous support! Below is a list of everyone who donated to this event. Support these local businesses! It's the combination of these awesome businesses and the amazing people that make the State of Jefferson a magical place. Let's keep it that your local business!!

Caldera Brewing Company

Alex's Restaurant and Bar

Ashland Envy

Bear Creek Bicycle

Jelly Belly

Therapeutics In Motion Massage

Poison Womb

Words can't express how thankful I am for your support. A little over 2 years ago I could barely move my right arm and could not even move my left. Through your support and a lot of hard work I can now support half my weight on both arms without falling on my face. Each day at Project Walk helps me get a little closer to recovery and independence!!! Without you and Project Walk I don't where I'd be now! Thank you Thank you!!!!!!

Some business items: I'm working on launching a new fundraiser to help me stay at Project Walk for another year. I currently have the funds to stay here through the end of December. In the meantime if you would like to support me its as easy as clicking HERE! All donations are administered through HelpHOPELive, which is a non-profit organization helping people who have experienced traumatic live changing injuries.

With the love and support of my friends and family I have the strength to Never Give Up and suddenly the impossible becomes not only possible, but probable! Keep the Faith!

Monday, August 1, 2011

3rd Annual Klamath River Benefit Bash

It's that time of year again for the Klamath River Benefit Bash! It's a festive day of WHITEWATER RAFTING followed by a BBQ followed by LIVE MUSIC by a 70's-80's cover band!! Don't miss it this year! Come join us in the heart of State of Jefferson on 20 acres of beautiful water front property for a celebration you won't soon forget and support a great cause by giving Matt a fighting chance to move his legs again.

All proceeds go to benefit the NTAF northwest spinal cord injury fund in honor of MATT THOMAS.

Event Details:

When: August 20th - Meet at Paradise Point at noon to go rafting. Dinner is at 6ish.

Where: Paradise Point - 18 miles west of Happy Camp, CA on Highway 96.

RSVP: Email and indicate if you're rafting or not or if you have any questions.

Camping: There's plenty of camping space available so come for the day or for the whole weekend.

Donation: Suggested $75 for the weekend or $25 for dinner/music

Directions to Paradise Point:

1. From the North or South on I-5, go West on Hwy 96. (Near Yreka)

2. Go 60 miles on Hwy 96 to the town of Happy Camp. This is the last remnant of civilization before Paradise Point (Gas, Food, ect.)

3. Continue on Hwy 96 past Happy Camp for about 18 more miles to Paradise Point. There will be a small sign on the left and an open yellow gate. Follow the dirt road to the right until you reach the parking area.

4. The turn for Paradise Point is exactly 0.9 miles past 'Coon Creek' River Access. If you get to Dillon Creek Campground you have gone 3 miles to far.

5. If you want to use a google map, Paradise Point usually shows up as Cottage Grove. (Paradise Point sits on the old town of Cottage Grove)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Big Gains and Upcoming Benefit!

A big thanks to Paul Gillingham for organizing and everyone who attended or helped out with the 2011 Cal Salmon Race. It looked like it was a great time and I'm honored that it was a benefit to help me on my road to recovery. Every little bit helps!!!

Project Walk has been going great. I continue to get stronger and stronger with each day. One of the biggest improvements has been increased core strength, which is soooooo important!!!!! Just recently I've been able to lean back about 5 degrees from sitting straight up and then sit back up straight. I know it doesn't sound like much, but its HUGE!!!!!!! Mostly, because according to modern medicine that should be impossible. I've been taking video and hope to have a short video posted in the coming weeks.

One thing I've been doing for fun is learning how to sale, which has been a lot of fun. Skimming across the water powered only by the wind and knowing I'm solely responsible for the control of the boat is highly liberating!! I absolutley the feeling of independence.

I've been making great progress at Project Walk. Everyday I'm inspired by my progress and the progress of those around me, which is fuel for the fire to never give up! Even though I dearly miss my friends and the Great State of Jefferson I've decided to try stay here longer. It just seems to be the best thing for me to do right now. You gotta make hay while the sun is shining and for me the sun is shining at Project Walk. This is where you come in. To make this happen I need to raise a significant amount of funding by the end of August. The cost for a year of attending Project Walk is about $48,000 and none of it is covered by insurance. Recovering from a spinal cord injury is a slow costly process and I'm very fortunate to have the amazing support that allows me the opportunity to be here.

Ways to help:

1. In the top right corner of this blog is a link to donate to my cause.

2. The 3rd Annual Klamath River Benefit Bash is scheduled for August 20th, 2011. Festivities will kick off with whitewater rafting starting at noon followed by dinner and then music. Come for the day or stay and camp out for the night. More details will follow soon.

3. My good friends Ben Stookesberry and Chris Korbulic will be showing the premiere of their new film "Kadoma" and all proceeds will go to help me on my way to recovery and I'll be there for the event!!!!!

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I'm honored and humbled to have the amazing support from all of you. The amount of support that I've received is truly not the norm and its completely due to the fact that you are an exceptional group of people that I've had the good fortune of knowing!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Journey Goes On

Sorry for the lack of updates. I know there are (or were ha ha) a lot of people following my progress and supporting me. Thank you for your support because without it the progress I’ve gained in the last few months would not be possible. My recovery is going to take a long time and your support is dearly appreciated and needed.

Speaking of support…wait for it…yes, that's right, I have needs…aside from professional psychiatric needs of course. The most urgent need I have right now is for a caregiver starting May 1 and going through at least the middle of June, but I could also extend it to August if that would be more desirable. It pays $10/hr and there’s about 50 hrs/ week and a room (free rent) is provided. There’s only about 2 hours of hard work per day and the rest is just hanging out and driving me around. If you’re interested email at soon! Oh, and its in San Diego…so if you’re unemployed and want a change of scenery lets talk!!

The other ongoing need is resources to attend Project Walk. It cost about $4000 per month just for the therapy not including living expenses in an expensive area. I've looked into a lot of different things and I'm convinced that PW is best thing for me right now. The progress is undeniable.

I’ve been doing the Project Walk thing now for 3 months and its going great. The hard work of the last three months is starting to pay off. This last week I saw significant improvement in my core strength, which has translated into better posture, balance, and being able to start working on transfers. I’m close, but need some more practice. I took a header into the couch practicing the other night, but don’t worry it was a soft landing and Joe was spotting me. I’ll get it pretty soon. I’ve also been using my manual chair as much as possible. My short-term goals are to get self sufficient in my manual chair and be able to transfer myself, which I’m working very hard to attain.

It’s hard to put the work I’m doing into tangible terms even for myself. I’ve been working out 3 hours a day, 3 days week and now I can sit up straight without falling over, I can slide my butt over a couple inches, and I can bench press 40 lbs 15 times. That kind of progress seems so small and almost indiscernible. I remind myself that just over a year ago those things seemed completely impossible. I didn’t learn how to kayak class V the first year I got in a kayak or ski steep remote slopes in the backcountry. No, it took several years of stubborn determination, countless hours of mundane practicing, and most importantly, constantly pushing my limits. The rewards of those many years are being able to enjoy the wonders of the South Branch, Upper Cherry Creek, and the Trinity Alps backcountry. The rewards of the sweat tears at Project Walk are a MUCH needed independence MOBILITY!!!

Per the request of many I added a link to the side of this blog...over there on the my Facebook album that is accessible by ANYONE you don't need to have Facebook!!!!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Back at Project Walk!

I'm back at Project Walk getting my butt kicked and loving every minute of it. It's going awesome and I'm filled with hope and optimism!! The drive down was exciting, but without mishap. We sneaked out of Oregon between two major snow storms and then headed to Southern California where they were getting pummeled with rain storm after rain storm. We arrived just before Christmas and got moved into an apartment in Encinitas, CA. After spending Christmas with family I started my session at Project Walk on Dec 27. I'm planning on staying here for 8 months or as long as the money lasts. Speaking of money you can now donate to my cause and its tax deductible. Check it out by clicking here. All donations go directly to medical expenses.

To give you an idea of what Project Walk is like I put together a short video from my last stay there. Check it out!

Matty T at PW

One of the things that is hard to show in a short video is the camaraderie with the other people at PW. I've met people from all over the world that have humbled me with their amazing attitudes and perspectives! PW is more than a place of physical recovery it is a place filled with hope and amazing people who embody that hope!! I love my pdub family!!

This past fall has been really tough with several catastrophic events with loved ones. Please continue to keep Hendri's family and friends, the Nolan family and Grantland family in your thoughts and prayers has they deal with these tough times. This community is a powerful source of love and support!

Thank you for your love and support. I'm only able to be here because you chose to support me!!

Keep the faith!

Much love,


PS: If you feel the need for encouragement come visit me and spend some time at PW and I promise you that you'll leave with a different perspective!