Keep Matt on His Feet

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Keep Matt on His Feet

From Bethany Minser Love

Multiple Sclerosis is trying to take Matt down. Help me raise funds for assistive medical devices to keep him on his feet, so he can keep being a fantastic dad to Kija (10) and Sunny (4, with Type 1 Diabetes).

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Update and Success!

Thanks to the love and generosity of friends, family, and strangers, Matt has been able to purchase the Bioness unit to keep him on his feet!  The unit was fitted and adjusted to his needs just yesterday, and he has begun the process of rebuilding his atrophied muscles as he starts walking in earnest again.  He can already feel a major difference, and this will only get better as his strength returns.  You have all helped restore mobility and hope to this family and especially this dad, who looks so forward to keeping up with his girls again!  Thank you and bless you all!

The Story

Matt was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis as he was finishing up his mechanical engineering degree at the University of Tennessee.  Many people with MS are able to find medications that put MS into remission, and Matt hoped this would be the case for him.  However, after four years of treatments and trials, nothing has worked, and his symptoms continue to worsen.  He now relies on a combination of canes and his wheelchair for mobility.  

Coping with Remitting Relapsing MS is more than any family should have to manage, but the Burr family got a double hit.  Just two years after Matt's diagnosis, their daughter Sunny, 18 months old at the time, became severely ill, and after a week in the PICU, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Since then, Matt and Stephanie's lives have revolved around managing her illness, with Stephanie putting her career on hold to provide full time care for Sunny.

For some time, Matt had been able to maintain his engineering job, despite worsening symptoms, finding ways to adapt and work his life around the difficulties and challenges -- until his company starting struggling, resulting in his being laid off last year.   

With no other options and Matt's symptoms continuing to worsen, Matt and Stephanie made the difficult decision for Stephanie try to restart her career as a pilot -- which meant she had to move to Texas for 5 months of training.  While Stephanie will eventually be able to make a good living to support the family, her salary for the first two to three years will be low enough to qualify the family for food stamps, barely covering their basic bills.  It also means she has to travel most of the time, leaving Matt to care for the two girls on his own, one a diabetic toddler, all while he continues to lose his ability to walk.  

The Device

Matt's doctor recently introduced him to the Bioness assistive device.  This simple-looking leg band uses electrical stimulation to restore his ability to walk.  He was able to test the device in the office, and the results were miraculous.  Matt finally saw some hope for staying on his feet -- until his insurance company told him it is not "medically necessary" for him to be able to walk and refused to cover the cost of the device or any visits or adjustments associated with it.

The Goal 

My goal is to raise $30,000 to cover the cost of the assistive medical leg bands, outstanding medical bills, the potential need for any home care, and adaptations that need to be made to the house to help with Matt's mobility.

Matt and Stephanie would never ask for money.  But after watching them struggle, hit snag after snag, fear for their daughter's life, and watch Matt's illness worsen, I have felt the desire grow to help them in some way.  When Matt told me about the "bionic legs," I felt major hope and joy in finding something that might finally help him.  When his insurance refused to cover them, I knew what I wanted to do.  I am running this fundraiser on their behalf, with their consent.  Please help me raise the money for these devices and other help they might need above and beyond.  Thank you so much

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