Matthew Myers came into this world a fighter. Born with Cerebral Palsy four weeks early by emergency C-section, he was quickly transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Blank Children’s Hospital, where they discovered that his kidneys were not functioning properly. The specialists at Blank Children’s suggested a transfer to Iowa City, and Matthew was transported there by Life Flight.
When he was finally stable enough to return home, Matthew continued to receive care from many specialists in Blank Children’s specialty clinics for developmental delays, dietary needs, surgery and other issues related to his Cerebral Palsy. At 11 months, Matthew had eye surgery to correct the muscles in his eyes. Because his Cerebral Palsy made it hard for him to eat and drink, doctors performed a second surgery to insert a g-tube. Since those two initial surgeries, Matthew has also had bi-lateral hip surgery, a knee surgery, and numerous Botox and Phenol injections to help with the tight tone in his muscles.
“All of Matthew’s doctors and nurses have been wonderful,” said Matthew’s mom, Nancy, “a real God send.”
Matthew’s fighting spirit and infectious joy are an inspiration to others. He makes people smile, and his laugh is contagious. Though Matthew’s Cerebral Palsy affects all four of his limbs, he doesn’t let that slow him down. He is able to stand and walk with a walker, but most days his friends can easily spot him in his blue wheelchair and look forward to receiving Matthew’s high fives and hugs.
“Matthew doesn’t know what it is to have a ‘down day,’” said Nancy. “You will always find him smiling and happy.”
A busy and active teenager, Matthew participates in the Kiwanis Miracle League in Ankeny and Des Moines. His favorite things are flying kites, doing laundry, going through the car wash, riding elevators, riding his three-wheel adaptive bike and bowling.
Matthew’s family has learned many lessons over the years as they’ve watched his fighting spirit. They have learned to be more patient and more understanding of the needs of others. They are grateful for what they have, do their best not to take anything for granted, and try to show gratitude every day. Matthew has taught them to push past boundaries, blaze their own path, and not always accept the first answer someone gives them.
“Life is not a race,” said Nancy, “it’s a journey. There is never just one way; there has to be another, or we will make our own way.”