"I am proof that the impossible is possible."
It wasn’t always this way, nor was it supposed to be. Throughout the nineties Matt rode everywhere, and everyday: the typical bike kid, growing up on two wheels and working his way into a shop job that allowed for a steady stream of bike parts and riding inspiration. Through a cheap trade-in Matt found himself the owner of a trials bike in 2001, working his way up to a be a solid street rider and Sport-level competitor placing middle of the pack at the well-attended ’04 Motorama competition. It was just about a month later that Matt went to the doctor thinking he needed glasses only to find out that at the age of 24 his vision was in serious jeopardy, a result of complications from diabetes which he was diagnosed with as a child.
“My vision loss is due to mismanagement of my diabetes. When I was a teenager, as with all teenagers, I thought that nothing could happen to me. I just wasn’t watching my blood glucose as well as I should have been. I also wasn’t seeing the doctor as often as I should. I would eat many things that I definitely shouldn’t have been eating. It was a mix of things but [it is] all due to me not taking care of my diabetes as well as I should have been.”
Some twenty surgeries later and Matt is completely blind in his left eye, able to make out differences between light and dark and see the horizon with his right. The transition was tough, with periods of clear sight between surgeries before the vision after each eventually regressed further with scar tissue and further complications. He held out on using a white cane or learning Braille for some time, partially out of hope that his vision loss was a passing stage, and partly out of stubbornness. As with anyone going through such a significant life change, it all took some getting used to. After a two-year period completely off of his bike, in 2006 Matt decided to give it another
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