When you look at Ryan Matthews, you see a student, a tough lacrosse player, an ice hockey player and an all-around regular kind of guy--(Okay, except for his undeniable good looks and striking blue eyes). He works two jobs, makes good grades and volunteers at vacation bible school. (If you've ever seen a teenage guy managing a group of first graders at vacation bible school, then you have seen the true definition of volunteer work!)
But there's more than meets the eye to this junior who attends Ryan Matthews takes more than 30 pills a day to maintain the health of his lungs and digestive system because he has cystic fibrosis.
Ryan doesn't let cystic fibrosis get in his way. In fact, he faces his battle like any other sport--with dedication and confidence that he will win the "game." When Ryan isn't checking someone on the lacrosse field or skating like a bullet across the ice, he's managing the sport of good health with daily airway clearance therapy, breathing treatments and a series of medications designed to help him stay on top of cystic fibrosis.
As you might have guessed, Ryan is the kind of student who looks at life through other's eyes too. He helps with fund-raising efforts for the Great Strides Walk to raise money for research for cystic fibrosis every year. This year, the Great Strides walk has about 60 people walking on Ryan's team, a determined group of fighters known as Ryan's Hope. The team has already raised more than $4,000 toward cystic fibrosis research. Clinical trials involving new oral drugs are underway and if successful, the treatments will add decades to Ryan's life as well as others who are managing cystic fibrosis.
This Saturday, May 21, Ryan and his team will walk at Georgia Tech in the Great Strides event. The event starts at 8:30 a.m. and participants meet at the Atlanta-Georgia Tech Campus IC Courtyard located at 391 Ferst Drive.
Keys to Success:
"Family and friends are a very important part of my life," says Ryan. "I believe having a positive attitude is very important in achieving what you want out of life. Something I like to live by is remembering that everyone is fighting some sort of battle--so no matter how others may act, treat everyone with respect."
Ryan sounds like someone who truly understands people as well as he understands himself. If everyone followed in his footsteps, imagine the strides we could all make on our journey through life.
If you don't have your walking shoes, you can still help by donating through the Great Strides Web site or by sending a check to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 860 Mountclaire Dr., Cumming, GA 30041.