Fenelon Falls resident praises support of association
More than six years ago, a single moment changed Matt Hughes’ life forever.
In August 2002, Hughes was involved in a pool accident that left him with a spinal cord injury that paralyzed him from the chest down.
Speaking at his home in Fenelon, Hughes said that he is still making adjustments in his life.
“I just made the transition to a manual wheelchair,” Hughes said.
After the initial shock of realizing he would probably never walk again wore off, Hughes said he felt lost.
“You have a million people telling you what you have to do,” he said.
The birth of his first child was the factor that kept him from giving up, Hughes explained.
Currently, he mentors others with spinal cord injuries and is involved with two projects designed to raise funds for the Canadian Paraplegic Association (CPA).
The first effort is the second annual Peterborough Wheelchair Relay Challenge set for Saturday, February 21. Hughes is participating in with a group of family and friends.
Participants can include both able-bodied and the disabled. The purpose of the relay is to help people better understand the experience of using a wheelchair and to raise funds for those with physical disabilities.
The CPA offers programs to with spinal cord injuries and helps them gain independence through those programs.
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Hughes said the CPA played a large role in helping him after his injury.
“I’ve had the CPA come and talk with me,” he said. “The CPA is a great organization. They help countless individuals and their families. They find equipment and housing for people. But the biggest part is having someone to talk to.”
More information on this event can be found at www.cpaont.org/event/peter-borough/ peterborough-wheelchair-relay-challenge
To donate a pledge towards Hughes’ team, you can visit his fundraisng page a t http://cpa-ontariodonate.akaraisin.com/p/matthughes. as px
In addition to the relay, Hughes and his family will also be holding a fundraising event on Valentine’s Day, Saturday, February 14 at the Coboconk branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.
The event will feature a live performance by Blind Spot, as well as door and raffle prizes.
“We’re trying to give something back to the people who help us, instead of them just handing us money,” Hughes said.
A unique aspect of the fundraiser will be a “cab and a half”, which will allow guests to drive to the fundraiser and if they have had to much to drink, then a designated driver will drive them home in their own car so they don’t have to pick it up the next day. This is offered to any one within 25 minutes of the fundraiser.
Hughes said he hopes to raise $2,000 for the CPA.
Tickets for the dance are $5 at the door or in advance. Anyone who wishes to purchase advance tickets, donate a raffle prize or give a cash donation for the fundraiser can contact Matt Hughes at 887-5032 or Patricia Hughes at 786-7477.
When asked what advice he would give to anyone having trouble dealing with paralysis or a spinal injury, Hughes said to never give up.
“It’s never easy but you have to keep on working on it,” he said.