Happy New Year

Happy New Year.

Thank you to everyone who has been in touch over the past few months. We have continued to receive some wonderful emails and letters. Everyone has their own story, and we feel very privileged that many people who have contacted us have felt comfortable to share their experiences.

Christmas for Matthew and Diane, unbelievably, was eventful and involved more hospital as Luke fractured his skull on Christmas Eve after fainting onto a marble floor at Christmas Mass. The good news is that he has a non-displaced fracture on the side of his head that will heal itself in time. The bad news is that he’s banned from contact sport such as rugby (although this is possibly to his parents’ relief) for six months. This includes his beloved cricket, but he has now a good excuse to sit and watch cricket on television. It was quite a shock to those who were there, including the kids involved, and we are so incredibly grateful to everyone for their assistance on the day. While we can laugh it off now as one of those life experiences, at the time, it was a big shock and we know Luke was very lucky.

Luke decided that hospital isn’t as much fun when you’re the patient, but we did get to experience the wonderful new Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane which is a reminder of how amazing our health care system actually is. His time was also made much more enjoyable thanks to visits from cousins and friends.


Christmas Day for the family was therefore spent at Luke’s bedside. Emily, who has had a lifelong fear of shopping centre Santas, actually seemed to feel very comfortable with Lady Cilento’s Santa who visited the kids and distributed presents. We think it’s because she’s more comfortable in a hospital than in a shopping centre, having spent a quarter of her life to date visiting or around hospital wards. Emily also enjoyed meeting the Queensland Fire and Rescue personnel (or ‘firemen’) who accompanied Santa on his visit.


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Prior to Christmas, Matthew’s progress had been going slowly because his new arms won’t be delivered until the end of January. We did, however, manage to kit him out so he could swim in the pool.

The upper arm flippers are Vici swim hands attached to PVC piping than can slip over Matthew’s arm bolts. They are a ‘Dad’ invention and work very well to keep Matthew afloat in the pool. Leg flippers were the result of work between Matthew and his team of prosthetists to work out how to join the flippers to his leg bolts.


Matthew’s flipper set for swimming. The legs were built by prosthetists, and the arms are a ‘Dad’ invention that allow Matthew to float.

The flipper set allowed Matthew to swim unassisted for the first time, although he still needs assistance to get into and out of the pool.

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Diane and Luke help Matthew get his balance in the pool, supported by a boogie board.

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Matthew floating solo with Will ready to support him if needed.

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Matthew ‘kitted out’.

The flippers have made a difference to Matthew who can now party with the kids in the pool, and they have just had their first real holiday in a couple of years at the Sunshine Coast. Those of you who have read Will to Live would have read about the trip to Caloundra. With time comes progress, and this time around, life is much easier thanks to equipment, experience, and the continued support of friends and family. Matthew had his first experience of a beach wheelchair at Currimundi Lakes, and had a fantastic opportunity to meet Cliff Hargreaves who has worked hard in the local community to improve the life of amputees. Ironically, Matthew was wheeling through Cliff Hargreaves Park when Cliff spotted him. They had a great time catching up and sharing stories, and Cliff showed Matthew and Diane tips about how to best enjoy the area at the park. Matthew learned that beach wheelchairs float, so he had a unique ‘out of water’ experience. There were lots and lots of offers of help from lots of people Matthew and Diane had never met to get around the park and wheel the chair up and down sand-dunes, for which they were very thankful.

The future brings with it Emily’s first year of school, and Matthew’s new arms (hopefully). The best of wishes to everyone for your new year plans. We hope you have had a wonderful and less eventful Christmas and start to 2015. Overall, as always, life’s good.

7 responses to “Happy New Year

  1. HAPPY NEW YEAR!! to you all, Thank you for an interesting update, wow you folk have a habit of having trouble stalk you, I do hope Luke is well & truly on the mend, he must have a rather saw spot on the head, give him my best wishes please. I have had a wonderful Xmas in the snow in Bavaria with some lovely folk on a very enjoyable tour of 21 days. I had a stint in a wheel chair myself on holiday as I stupidly badly sprained my ankle & knee while on the coach, stepped into mid air over the centre steps, crazy lady. All my travel companions took it in turns to whe Those flippers are such a great invention, Matthew must be very happy to enjoy the pool, especially in this hot weather, we have luckily had some rain in the last few days freshens all the surroundings. It hardly seems time for Emily to start school, she is such a little cutie, time flies doesn’t it? Her big brother will be her minders no doubt. Good luck in the New Year with the new arms Matt, love & best wishes to Chris & Roy & all the family. Ciao from the Northern climes,


    • Hi Merle! Great to hear from you and about your travels, and I hope the ankle and knee are recovering. Enjoy the snow, and we’ll look forward to catching up in 2015. Love Kate.

  2. Thankyou for the update, sorry to hear about Luke’s accident! Hope he is recovering well. My husband and I really enjoyed your book and were especially impressed by the stories of those wonderful kids, how gorgeous they all are! Best wishes for 2015, Zoe Murphy

    • Hi Zoe. Thanks for your comment. Luke is doing well and enjoying spending time watching the seemingly endless season of cricket at present. We hope you have had a great start to 2015 and thanks for the feedback on the book. Best wishes, Kate.

  3. Happy new year to you! I have just finished reading your book and I am blown away at the strength you, your family (wife in particular) and your community have. All I kept thinking was if other communities band together during hard times, as yours did with you, then the world would be a better place. Because of this, I just know that Luke will be back to his old self before you know it.

    I am a 4th year mature age OT student and I got a lot from your book so I will be recommending it to my friends.
    Please look me up the next time you are in Sydney. I would just love to meet you. Your such an inspiration.
    Best wishes to you and your family and I look forward to seeing you conquer your next mountain.
    Cindy 🙂

  4. Hello Ames Family,
    So sorry to hear about Luke’s accident. It seems like you guys stay away from the common cold.
    I wanted to wish you all the best with the new arms and I hope you are faring well as the recovery process slows down and hits bumps. A friend of mine is working towards her new leg and it isn’t going according to plan and so I hope you are going okay.
    I often think of you, Matthew and your courageous determination and you are an ongoing inspiration to me to me. What is is to keep fighting and keep fighting to be yourself and to parent your kids and be a spouse. These things are so worth fighting for and as much as I wish it could all just come on a silver platter, I do appreciate each and every day I’m still here and am grateful. Love to you all xx Rowena

    • Hi Rowena, thank you. An update will come in the next few days. We appreciate your words and support. Kate 🙂

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