Matthew C. Bausch

by Sandra Bausch

Matthew's a miracle! Meet him once and your life will change forever. In 1993, at age 20, Matthew suffered a spinal cord injury which left him a quadriplegic.

How the accident happened is still a mystery. That night his doctor told us it would be best to let him die. But Matthew didn't die; after thirty days in Intensive Care and nine months in rehab, he recovered enough to move into his own apartment in a small rural New England town. But he was unsatisfied, being afraid that he'd never realize his childhood dreams: to surf the Pacific Ocean and build homes in California.

Matthew was accepted as an outpatient at the Shepherd Spinal Cord Center in Atlanta, Georgia. He joined the quad rugby team, Rolling Thunder and volunteered for the Paralympics. Shepherd Center was wonderful, but Atlanta was not. It rained often and the hilly city made it difficult to push his wheelchair from place to place. Then Matthew was accepted to participate in a three-month research program at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis in Miami, Florida.


Like many others, Matthew cannot afford to receive long-term physical therapy, but he has seen just how important physical therapy is. His dream is to build a physical therapy facility in which everyone, regardless of ability to pay, can receive care.


All parents want to guide their children to adulthood to take on the world in their own way. With Matthew's injury, it would have been so easy, as a parent, to step in and take care of him. When Matthew went to Miami, I went along to get him started. Soon he told me to move along and get on with my life. I moved on and found a job I love.

Matthew lives in Miami and takes care of himself. He attends college now, and occasionally goes to area schools to tell the story of his injury and recovery. He's so wonderfully brave, going it alone without family or friends nearby for support or help. He tells me over and over again, there is nothing he cannot do.


One time at The Shepherd Center, I climbed into a wheelchair and spent hours pushing from place to place. It really gave me a different perspective. The next time you see a person in a wheelchair, look them in the eyes and acknowledge them because you're looking at a hero.

Page created on 7/20/2004 11:20:42 AM

Last edited 1/6/2017 12:35:43 AM

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