Matt s Story
“It's called Osteogenesis Imperfecta. It's a genetic condition. It means that there's a certain chemical in my bones that doesn't form correctly. Essentially, it is a brittle bone disease. So, I break my arms and legs incredibly easily.
I have broken close to 100 bones in my life. I've had close to 20 surgeries and have scars all over my body. And, it is not even from doing anything ridiculously dangerous. I'll break my leg from just falling over. If you ever have seen the movie, 'Unbreakable', the symptoms that I have are the same as Samuel L. Jackson…
The last time when I broke my knee, it was because I hit a brick and fell out of my wheelchair. I kinda broke down in the ambulance because, before that point, I was doing really well physically- I was in peak condition for me. I was so disappointed that I would have to restart everything. But, after that moment, I got back into it and I was fine.
I've been in a wheelchair ever since I've been in school. People will sometimes look at you differently being in a wheelchair. It happens. But, I say, screw them. I don't really care what other people think about me.
To give an example, I work on the beach over the summer in New Jersey. I am a beach badge inspector, so I sell tickets. And, I used to use a walker a lot, now I use a cane. So, one day at the job, I was using my walker, and this guy came up to me and said, 'What, did you steal that from your grandmother's basement?'
I was completely caught off guard, so all I could respond was, ‘Uh... no.’ Because if you look at me, you wouldn’t be able to tell I have a physical disability. I mean, I can do almost everything that anyone else can do. I am a communication major and I am a guitarist in the band ‘The Naked Astronauts.’
I can walk short distances and I always find a way around things. I have always kept a positive attitude. I never have really had an existential crisis, thinking 'Why me?' And it definitely helps that my family and friends have always been supportive.”