This is our son Matthew – one of the most fun loving and inspiring people you could hope to meet – even at 3 years old!
Matt has little to no use of his left leg, or of his right leg below the knee, which was caused by a spinal cord injury in the early stages of pregnancy. He does not allow this to hold him back at all, and his resolve and spirit is already inspiring people the world over. Matt’s relentless determination has seen him overcome the vast majority of the limiting medical prognoses he has faced. Matt has already made an indelible impact not only on our own lives, but on hundreds of others who have encountered his story.
We realised early on that how we as parents dealt with Matt’s condition would have the greatest impact on how he viewed and dealt with it himself. We knew that however difficult it was, and still can be, we had to remain positive. We were greatly inspired by the 2012 London Para-Olympics which were taking place at the same time we were learning of Matt’s condition. The spirit and triumph of the games reinforced our realisation that the only way to overcome the negative emotions of disability was to, in fact, embrace it, leverage it and use it as a driving force to reach and encourage other parents and children on similar journeys.
We began to reach out to those people who we believed would prove to be a true source of encouragement for Matt, not celebrity, but rather those who have achieved in their respective fields – be that in business, politics, sports, art, adventure or stalwart individuals less known to the public. Initially, we found it difficult to open doors for Matt, possibly because I believe people may be apprehensive as they assume we were looking for charity or endorsement. Once we managed to convey to people that this truly is a project of encouragement, some incredible doors have opened – from being invited to 10 Downing Street to meet Prime Minister David Cameron, to meeting with multiple Olympic Gold Medalists, legendary investors, F1 team founders and astronauts; as well as receiving messages of encouragement from President Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton, to name but a few.
Whilst Matt is still really young and will most likely not remember many of these early meetings as he grows older, the photos and messages that we have on his “wall of encouragement” will remind him always that some of the most prominent people gave generously of their most valuable commodity – time. They took time out of their demanding schedules to inspire, motivate and encourage him to approach his challenges with confidence, resolve and integrity, in turn contributing to his ability to live his life to his fullest, and exemplify to others that Impossible is indeed nothing!
We are now entering the third year of Project @MeetingMatthew, and it has caused us to remove the blinkers, the confines of our challenges, and move towards developing a true legacy.
We realise that as long as our focus is on our family and Matt’s challenges alone, whilst inspiring, the project can appear to be one of self-benefit. This is not our desire. In fact as parents and as a couple, our heart and vision is to serve and encourage families and individuals that are impacted by the realities of living with a disability, whatever form that may take. Our vision is is to launch the first “Enable Conference” in London in 2017 – a conference of encouragement and inspiration for parents and families. This is now a large driving force behind what we are doing at Superlative Life. Our objective and scope for impact has grown exponentially from Matt being inspired by great people, to exploring how Matt’s journey can translate into a generational legacy.
We are incredibly proud and passionate about this project and it would be a privilege to connect with all whom our vision resonates with.
To all who have supported us on our journey thus far and to those who have opened their doors and hearts to Matt, you will forgive us for not naming you all individually, it is with the deepest and most sincere gratitude that we thank you. Your generosity and willingness to encourage our incredible son is both a privilege and an honour that we do not take lightly.
Impossible is Nothing!
Gav, Kerry and Matt