#HighFivesAthlete Matt Leonard’s Mom shares his most recent achievements //
It’s been a long 4 months but our departure day from Denver, Craig Hospital, and the Peak Center is finally here. It is surprising to me that while I am excited to return home (having left Vermont on Feb 28), there is also some sadness. We’ve met some lovely people, made good friends, and shared an abundance of laughter and tears. I cannot say enough about the goodness we have witnessed while here. I would be remiss if I did not mention the support from the High Fives Foundation-both emotionally and financially. And, of course, the Garts and the Rajaniemis, who have both provided a home to me and the many guests, delicious meals, vehicles, and strength when I had none. As Tom Gart said to Matt, “I’m with you for the long haul. I’ll see this to the end.” It is a gift I will never be able to repay.
Through it all, Team Leonard has been there with supportive emails, caring texts, delightful packages, and, of course, the in person visits. Neither Reno nor Craig Hospital has ever witnessed anything like the swarm of friends that surrounded Matt every weekend. Thank you, everyone, for keeping us afloat during some of the hardest days, celebrating with us on the good days, and reminding Matt of the love and friends waiting for him in SF. We couldn’t have done it without you!
While Matt is incredibly strong and healthy now, he has also accomplished much. He has learned to handcycle, play wheelchair tennis, drive a car with hand controls, and complete his PADI (and regular not handicap) scuba certification. Last weekend, Chris Teeves visited Matt and was able to watch two of Matt’s dives at the Denver Aquarium!
So what’s next? Matt and I will be flying tonight to Nantucket for our annual 4th of July gathering. It will be incredible to be with our family! Matt will return to SF (with Emily in tow for a week) as he settles back in. His new apartment will be ready for him to make into his new home with roommates Max and Henry. And he hopes to return to Zenefits in August.There will be challenges and adjustments, but Matt is strong and determined….and he has the most exceptional group of friends. As one friend recently wrote to me: Matt has always been there for me when I’ve needed him, whether providing a judgement free environment to talk about my own insecurities, confront me when I’m not doing the right thing, or forgive me when I’ve made a mistake. I’m clearly not the only person Matt has supported, and for that reason, he’ll never lack the support he needs from me and others. I can neither put myself in your position nor fully appreciate the challenges you and John are going through as Matt’s parents, but if there is one thing I can say confidently, it’s that you don’t need to worry about Matt having the right kind of people around him to make this adjustment.
So to all of Team Leonard, thank you for the best gifts of all: your friendship and for helping us all move Forward.
This photo was taken today at Matt’s suggestion at his last Indego session. “Mom, don’t you want a picture with me since it’s the last time I’ll be standing up?” While I did want the photo, it will not be the last time he stands. That too will happen. Hugs to all.