Friday, November 13, 2015

Bulletproof Attitude & 1 Trick to Develop Mental Toughness Thru the Alvin Matthews Story

Alvin Matthews is a current member of Team NutriBullet (training for the 2016 LA Marathon) and many years ago trained with the SoCal Coyotes in pursuit of running a marathon on all 7 continents. As a runner, Alvin completed marathons on 6 of the 7 continents (and the North Pole too).

In April of 2014, Alvin fell 3 stories off a roof and cracked his cervical spine rendering him quadriplegic. As he healed/recovered and went to PT (after surgery to fuse C5-C7 vertebrae), Alvin's diagnosis was refined to "incomplete quadriplegic" as his paralyzation is chest down. He has limited (and uneven) use of both of his arms and hands, although precious little strength which he's currently working to build back up. Due to the difficulty of working with his health insurance, he has not been to Physical Therapy in over 3 months.

Alvin's first finish line as a wheelchair athlete
Alvin was barely able to complete 200 meters in his wheelchair on his own power 2 months ago. As you may have seen in the video (above), on Sunday, November 8th Alvin completed the Calabasas Classic 5k in 2 hours, 4 minutes and 54 seconds. He pushed up the hills and on the flats on his own power, and on the downhills he had his mentor Ralph (a very experienced wheelchair athlete with 13 years of racing under his belt) and me making sure he didn't slip backwards down the hill, and also to steer/brake on the downhills as he didn't have the strength/leverage at higher speeds to brake. His wheelchair is not designed for racing.

Our plan is to purchase one of these hand-cycles for Alvin!
We (his coaches, teammates and friends) aim to raise $15,000 (or more) to cover the costs of a new racing hand-cycle (a specialized wheelchair that will allow Alvin to restore his strength and health) and put Alvin back into the Physical Therapy he needs to perform everyday functions. Alvin dreams of being able to drive again, he plans to race a marathon on his 7th continent to complete a huge personal goal, and he also plans someday to be able to walk again. Doctors have said cases like Alvin's are a one-in-a-million shot to walk, to which Alvin responded, "why not be the one who does?"

Alvin has a very simple reframing technique when he's struggling: he simply reminds himself that there are people less fortunate than him. Kids and adults in hospital beds, fully quadriplegic and unable to move, to exercise, to perform every day functions. So whenever you are struggling, think of how lucky you are to be able to do what you do. Whether you are a runner or a walker or a hiker, every movement is a gift. Cherish those gifts.

Alvin has inspired all those on Team NutriBullet, and on the Coyotes, and in his life. His positive attitude in the face of these challenges is infectious. We thank you for anything, even if only $10. If you can give more, I thank you, Alvin thanks you, his family and his teammates are grateful for every contribution. We will publish our grand total and how much the hand-cycle costs (and how much more we put towards Alvin's return to Physical Therapy). Thank you, thank you, thank you so much.

"​Goodness is about character - integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people."
-​Dennis Prager


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