Local amputee defying fate at US Warrior Games
DEMONSTRATING the strength and willpower of a true warrior, Yeppoon man Matthew Brown is defying fate to compete in the annual Warrior Games in Florida USA just eight months after losing his leg due to injuries incurred in an accident that almost cost him his life.
Educated at Yeppoon Primary and High schools, Matthew became a familiar face about town managing KFC before taking an apprenticeship at Cedar Park Bakery.
His love of cooking drove Matthew to join the navy about six years ago where he was deployed to many destinations around the world.
Currently stationed at Rockingham Naval Base in WA, in September last year Matthew was involved in a horrific accident.
His Yeppoon-based mother, Patricia Brown remembers the night she received a call from the navy that no parent ever wants to receive.
"My first instinct was shock followed by the necessity to get to my son in WA as quickly as possible,” Patricia said.
"There were no flights from Rockhampton late at night, so I had to wait until the next morning before I could fly out.
"It was such a traumatic experience. I didn't know if my son would be alive or dead when I got there. You can only imagine the despair I experienced. It's just not something anyone, particularly a parent should ever have to go through.”
Matthew showed his strength, fighting through his injuries. He spent five months in hospital and after overcoming significant injuries, had his leg amputated below the knee.
Patricia said through sheer determination and grit Matthew endured extensive physiotherapy, gym work and training. He fought back to reclaim his life.
Now just eight months after his accident, he has qualified to go to the Warrior Games on June 21-30 in Tampa Bay, Florida USA.
"He will compete in four sports, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball and archery,” his mother said.
"He will be part of the Australian Defence Force team competing against other wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from NZ, Canada, England and the USA armed forces.”
Patricia and Matthew's sister, Anna, want to be there front and centre to see their beloved son/brother represent his country, so they set up a GoFundMe account under 'Warrior Games' to make it a reality.
Patricia said she was immensely proud of what Matthew had achieved in such a short time.
"He could have easily given up hope and drowned in a sea of self-pity. Instead, he has fought back and will now proudly wave the Australian flag for the Australian servicemen and women who are shining examples of strength and resilience,” she said.
"I am the only parent Matthew has and I really need to be there at the games to support my son as any parent would want to be.
"Unfortunately, all the trips back and forth to WA to support Matthew during his recovery has been financially draining so I am putting the call out to our local community, to help me be by my son's side and support him and his fellow team mates at the games.”
To donate, go to the GoFundMe website, type in 'Warrior Games' in the search bar and look for the photo in this story with Matthew, Anna and Patricia.