The Matt W. Story
Who knows what his real, full name is. “Matt W.” was all that was given and that’s all that is needed, because Matt W.’s actions speak louder than words ever could.
Here is why: Matt W. is a student at Worthington Colonial Hills Elementary School in Ohio. But Matt W. is not your average student. You see, Matt suffers from cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is a serious condition and according to the Mayo Clinic, “Cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by injury or abnormal development in the immature brain, most often before birth. Signs and symptoms appear during infancy or preschool years. In general, cerebral palsy causes impaired movement associated with exaggerated reflexes or rigidity of the limbs and trunk, abnormal posture, involuntary movements, unsteadiness of walking, or some combination of these. The effect of cerebral palsy on functional abilities varies greatly. People with cerebral palsy often have other conditions related to developmental brain abnormalities, such as intellectual disabilities, vision and hearing problems, or seizures.”
That’s why it was a very big deal when Matt decided he was going to run the 400 meters (approximately ¼ mile) at his school’s once a year track event. What happened during that race is one of the most inspirational events you’ll ever see. There’s a link to a video of it below, but we’ll describe it here…
At the start of the race, all the 5th and 6th graders took off. Matt slowly made his way off the starting line. His running strides were labored but what he lacked in grace he made up for in determination… tenfold. The video’s soundtrack is the theme for Rocky.
The race was two complete laps around the 200 meter track and the other students quickly lapped him. Then, the real magic started. Matt’s gym teacher, John Blaine, started running the race with Matt while providing him verbal and emotional support.
As Matt completed the first lap, supporters started to cheer more. About a quarter of the way around his second lap, a little girl made her way over to Matt while yelling to cheer him on. Inspired by Matt (and taking the little girl’s lead) more students rushed over to join Matt.
Students completely surrounded him with everyone chanting over and over, “Let’s go Matt… Let’s go!!!” Matt picked up his pace as his classmates and friends energized him.
More and more students appeared. They all crossed the finished line together with a massive cheer in just under four minutes. The students swarmed Matt with high fives and hugs. Matt was obviously exhausted but enjoyed this amazing moment with his supporters.
Matt’s mother broke down in tears several times as she witnessed her son’s incredible journey and life lesson for us all.
Many doctors believe in the power of positive thought. Not only does it have the power to possibly heal us, but it can also move mountains when it has to.
Matt W. may never win an Olympic Gold medal, but his actions during this 400 meter race may change more lives than any Gold Medal winner probably ever has.
There is no doubt many of his classmates will achieve great successes in life because of Matt W.’s remarkable inspiration. Here’s the video of Matt W.’s amazing race:
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