Welcome to Captain Matthew’s fundraising page for myTEAM TRIUMPH -Ainsley's Angels of Southwest Louisiana!
A message from Captain Matthew's Mother and Angel:
On January 19, 1999 the Lord said it was time…………..meet Matthew. Born 27 weeks, weighing 1 pound, 6 oz, and only a few inches long. Persevering nearly 4 months in the hospital, illnesses that left him rehospitalized with close calls and multiple surgeries. Matthew is a handsome, young, flourishing teenager with a heart of gold. Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at the age of one, but that has not slowed him down. He loves playing video games, attending the Louisiana Lions Camp during the summer, watching movies, adaptive skiing (see the two photos to the left!), eating different culture foods, museums, and learning about the French and Japanese culture & language. Don’t be surprised if he greets you with a big smile, a bow, and says Konnichiwa (pronounced “kon-nee-chee-wah”)! Most teenagers want gifts and money as a birthday present but Matthew wants to go eat Escargot at a “real” French cuisine restaurant. One day he hopes to make it to Paris and Japan. I told him one flight at a time….. but for now…… Matthew, his brother Evan, and I are ready to race! We have decided to “roll with the wind” in as many events as possible, with a goal to eventually run a half-marathon TOGETHER! (Note from Ainsley's father: I think they will smash this goal and Captain Matthew will soon join the less than one percent of the world that have earned the title, "Marathoner").
What is myTEAM TRIUMPH - Ainsley's Angels of Southwest Louisiana Chapter?
myTEAM TRIUMPH is an athletic ride-along program created for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who would normally not be able to experience endurance events such as triathlons or road races. See the video to the left, as we challenge a local sportscaster to a road race!
All donations are critical! Since we currently do not have any membership fees for our Captains (those we push) or our Angels (those who push), our mission is dependent on support from sponsors. Amoung the things donations will be used for include: maintaining our enclosed equipment trailer, purchasing and maintaining jogger chairs, bike trailers, and boat rafts, purchasing team uniforms, race entries for our Captains, ensuring all Captains never pay for a single event, and ensuring we can continue to provide for the best events possible for our Captains and their families! We also aim to eventually support local special needs schools, programs, and organizations, while also hoping to experience an out-of-area trip/race for our special athletes.
In fact, the Wilkerson Family would like to thank the following people for their generous support in assisting Matthew with purchasing his very own jogger chair: R&R Wood Products, William Hirsh, Claire Bienvenu, Nicole Nesbitt, Brandie Mitchell, Ashley Barnes, Mike and Linda McCormic, Sherry Brown, Paul, Pam & Krista McCormic , Janice Murphy, and Mary Chachere. Everyone's continued support is much appreciated and will ensure many more miles and SMILES!
Who is Ainsley?
Ainsley does not talk or walk; she does not play for fun; but she smiles, while out for a run. An inspiration to thousands, she is an amazing little girl with a smile that will light up any room. Shortly after being diagnosed with an extremely rare progressive genetic nerve disorder called Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD), Ainsley completed the Surfer's Healing Virginia Beach 5K road race. Her first of many running-aided, wind-induced smiles took our family's collective breath away as she received her finisher's medal and became an official Team Hoyt Virginia Beach (THVB) ATHLETE! Inspired by Dick and Rick Hoyt, and the only running team authorized by the Hoyt's to use their name, THVB provided Ainsley's family with a therapeutic means to fight the devastation associated with learning and trying to live with the fact that your child has a terminal illness. The positive energy surrounding the start line, the children smiling from ear to ear, the togetherness of every member preparing to "roll with the wind", the fearlessness of the athletes, the normalcy of the family, and the love we all have for each other is a therapy like no other. In an effort to spread this amazing experience to as many people as possible, Ainsley's Angels aims to see other families experience what the Hoyt's have experienced over 1000 times and what we have experienced over 30 times (so far). As such, we created this chapter of myTEAM Triumph to ensure others can "roll with the wind" and live up to the philosophy of, "Yes You Can."