Power couple, Matt and Kaitlyn fulfil their dreams of participating in the Boston Marathon, thanks to a local sports drink company, HOTSHOT.
Matt Wetherbee, 30, met with a basketball accident in 2016, which damaged his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed shoulder down. Even though he still goes for electro muscle stimulation therapy four days a week, he was planning to complete the Boston Marathon this year with his girlfriend helping him out to push his chair for the course of the walk.
However, as noted by the Daily Mail, the couple missed the registration deadline, when a local company, HOTSHOT, helped them come up with their personalized race, this past Monday. Since he has been commuting with the help of a wheelchair for the past two years, he needed the help of his committed girlfriend, Kaitlyn Kiely, to make it to the finishing lines.
He hopes to get back on his feet someday and has been going several surgeries for the same. His desire is to get back on his feet and use his arms to propose to Kaitlyn like he had planned to for days after his accident. Their relationship has only grown stronger in the past couple of years, and especially last week, when Kaitlyn pushed matt for all of 26.2 miles of the Boston Marathon route.
Matt recalls the ill-fated day and he says, "I was conscious, and I knew something was immediately wrong because I couldn't move anything." Even though he is still paralyzed chest downwards he is making strong improvements with every passing day and therapy session.
I still cannot even believe Monday happened. I’m at a loss for words. Hands down the best day of my life and the coolest thing I’ve ever been apart of. Can’t begin to thank all of you but let me try: thank you so much to my family, friends, strangers/supporters, the BPD, @team_hotshot @gear_comm @newbalance for making this all happen and for letting me take care of my unfinished business. Having people join in and run and cheer us on was truly unreal and beyond motivating. Most of all, thank you to my love, Matt. You inspire and challenge me to be better everyday. This is only just the beginning for us. Thank you for putting up with my crazy ideas and making me the luckiest girl in the world. #unfinishers #teamhotshot #missionaccomplished #quadriplegic #beestrong #wetherbeast
Their lives had changed drastically and Kaitlyn talks about embracing changes when she says, "We're trying now to figure out how to navigate our new life, find our new normal." While they were adjusting themselves to their new lifestyle, they were also training to complete the marathon.
They borrowed a racing chair which she filled with a bag of salt weight 50 pounds to gain a sense of what it would be like to push Matt. When they missed the sign-up deadline and were informed that it would not be possible for them to compete that year, they said, "We're sick of hearing "no", or feeling like we couldn't live our lives the way we want to. If you want something to happen, find a way to make it happen."
If there is a will there is a way, and surely a week before the event on the April 9, they set out to complete the 26.2 mile race. When the reached the finish line they were greeted and cheered on by several friends and family members who had flocked down to where they were as a sign of support and encouragement.
"That was definitely the best part for both of us. I was shocked to see how many people were there at the finish line," Matt recalls. "We both got pretty emotional at the end. I cried, and that doesn't happen often," Kaitlyn said sharing her thoughts on their achievement.
"It's an awesome feeling, but to cross it with the love of your life sitting in the chair below you and all of your family and your friends right there, it's probably the coolest thing I've ever done in my life," she says. HOTSHOT further motivated the couple by giving them a cheque of $25,000 towards Matt's physical therapy center, Journey Forward.
They have also put up a fundraising page for those interested in donating money for his therapy sessions, which cost up to $100 each.