I am riding my kid-sized Top End brand handcycle downtown. The weather is more or less perfect for my plans, with a light north breeze and few clouds. On my way to town, I have to scale reasonably large hills, as my house is in a valley of sorts. At the stop sign at the bottom of one hill, I can only think, "OK, Matt, brace yourself. Safety and efficiency are key." Safety is easy enough, as traffic is very light most of the time on my street. Efficiency is more of a challenge, however. My Top End bike has gearing that is meant for flat-and-level driving, and is certainly not optimized for hills like those found throughout Cresco. As a result, the climb up the hill is very demanding on both my muscles and my gears. I have to stop twice to catch my breath and let my transmission, which had begun to slip, recover from the continuous torque. I eventually make it up however, and after a five-minute breather, continue on my way to town.
My family and my doctors at Mayo Clinic consider my current abilities a miracle in spite of my degree of dysplasia. Before I was born, I was diagnosed with Spina Bifida (myelomeningocele) with a Chiari malformation in my brain. This surprisingly common birth defect resulted in a greatly reduced level of control over my lower body and some skeletal abnormalities, all of which would serve to either cap my ability later in life or motivate me to work past them. Like most toddlers, I learned to crawl before I learned to walk, but I had to improvise my technique with walking, which was more like climbing sideways on the floor, holding on to the wall for support. This was a very pleasant surprise to my doctors and an answer to my parents' prayers, as the doctors had not expected me to retain control of most of my body at all; I had defied the statistics. Over the years and through the thirteen surgeries that I have still needed, I continue to inspire people and grow stronger than any data could predict or theoretically allow.
My athletic accomplishments and goals:
Earlier this year, I competed in a 5k fun-run, where I surprised myself at the speed I could achieve in my wheelchair, and where I learned its limits. Over the summer, I have also gone on fairly short bike trips around Cresco, mostly for job hunting or for the good workout such a trip provides. I also try to keep up with my family when we go on trails together, but my current cycle can't match their pace (even in their highest gears).
Like many of my friends and classmates I want to be a part of a team. The teams on which I feel I can contribute the most are my school's track & field and cross-country teams. As with any sport, an athlete needs the proper training equipment to minimize injury and maximize performance. One of the best apparatuses for training and participating in these events is a handcycle, but my current cycle is insufficient in size and speed. Once able to train properly I can race like my classmates - at least from a racing wheelchair. Doing so can bring recognition and acceptance of others with spinal cord injuries in and outside sports.
Because of the technology used to make and design them a new adult-sized handcycle is very expensive, way beyond my reach in excess of $4000. My dad, however, has found a used one online for about $2500, which I am hoping to raise the money to purchase. Here is what it looks like.
Thank you so much!
Matthew Ferrie and family
DonationsSee top donations
- Allen Iverson
- Scott Davis
- Mike Caffrey
- Mason Swier
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more