This morning, I am riding in the Miles for Matt Metric Century (60 Miles) bike race. Check out my pre-race post here!
This race is organized by the Space Coast Velo Sport and Eazy Riders, two local groups that Matt Coiro used to ride with.
Life sometimes takes unexpected turns. Matt was an avid
bicyclist, kayaker, an active member and past Commodore of
the Space Coast Paddlers, as well as being a member of the
Eazy Riders, a local bicycle club he would ride with every
Sunday morning in Melbourne, FL. He has ridden many
Century rides (that’s 100 miles), often wearing his signature
cut-off blue jeans. He has won numerous kayaking races and
adventure competitions and met his wife of just two years,
Stephanie, at a kayaking event.
Matt has worked at Northrop Grumman as a computer
specialist for 25 years and would often ride his bicycle to work.
He would ride on the sidewalks and bike paths from his house
in Eau Gallie. He was always very safety conscious and had
lights and reflectors on the bike and, of course, wore a helmet.
On the pre-dawn morning of December 10, 2008, the
decision to ride his bike to work, take in the cool fresh air and
get an early workout was something he had done a hundred
times before. But, somehow this day would be very different.
Matt was thrown from his bicycle after striking an unmarked
ledge of a storm drain within the pedestrian/bicycle cross walk.
A co-worker driving by at second glance saw Matt’s bike light
and found him. He called Stephanie and an ambulance that
took Matt to Holmes Regional Medical Center where he was
rushed into surgery.
Matt sustained a C5 incomplete Spinal Cord injury in the
crash and needed his C3 vertebrae to be removed to relieve
the swelling. It was replaced with a plastic block and fused to
the surrounding vertebrae. As a result, Matt was left paralyzed.
Matt spent 8 weeks in therapy at Sea Pines Rehabilitation
Hospital, where he progressed, but remained dependent upon
discharge. After much red tape, Matt was interviewed for and
got into a program at Shepherd Center, specializing in Spinal
Cord Injury in Atlanta, GA. Matt has been at Shepherd Center
since March 4.
Although Matt has made progress, it is all happening much
more slowly than people unfamiliar with these injuries would
expect. Matt is expected to return home in late May or early
June. When Matt returns, Stephanie will need to hire caregivers
to help her care for Matt so she can return to work. Stephanie
has not been able to work since the accident.
Matt has touched many lives as shown by the number of
guestbook entries made on Caring Bridge, cards and letters
sent, and the very generous amount of donations made to the
Matt Coiro Family Trust Fund. If you want to donate to help matt, contact any Bank of America banking center and make a check payable to "Matt Coiro Family Trust".
All proceeds from today’s race will go 100% to the Matt Coiro Family Trust Fund.