Makapuu Hike Takes a Tragic Turn

It was December 2010. The holiday season was in full swing at REHAB as Christmas carolers roamed the halls spreading holiday cheer. Amongst the crowd of patients, a young man stood out. Eager to be a part of the festivities, he found a hand drum and joined in with the carolers. He sat in his wheelchair belting out the Christmas songs; seemingly without a care in the world. It was a refreshing disposition for a patient who had to spend his holidays in a hospital. This positive attitude is what helped Matthew Bull overcome one of the most difficult challenges in his life.

Just one month earlier, Matt was a typical 26 year old with the world at his fingertips. He worked hard as a cook and enjoyed hanging out with his friends. He was also expecting the birth of his son in a few weeks time. On November 25, 2010, his world turned upside down. Matt decided to do a leisurely Thanksgiving Day hike with friends on the Makapuu Lighthouse trail. They veered off the paved path to take a “shortcut.” In a moment of bad judgment, Matt found himself lying on the ground unable to move after falling approximately 20 feet down the side of a ledge. He landed feet first from the fall. But the impact was too much for his body.

He did not realize the seriousness of his injury until the paramedics tried to move him. All he could feel were shooting pains throughout his body. He had crushed part of his vertebrae and the doctors told him that he was paralyzed due to an incomplete spinal cord injury. Most people would fall into a depression after hearing that type of news, but not Matt. He was still hopeful that he would walk again.

After a brief stint at Queen’s Medical Center and surgery on his spinal cord, Matt regained some feeling in his legs but still needed a wheelchair to get around. He was admitted to REHAB where he spent the next six weeks. In the last two weeks of his stay, the therapist got Matt standing again for the first time since his accident. He was completely speechless. Rare for anyone that knows him.

“I don’t know where I would be today without REHAB and the staff. The therapists were great. They pushed me even more than I thought I could handle, but it was good.” The progress that Matt made was inspiring. When he was first admitted Matt was completely dependent on his wheelchair and now he is walking around with the minimal assistance of a cane. He is back to work and has transitioned into a steady administrative position. There are many things that Matt and his family have to celebrate this holiday season, including his son’s second birthday which just happens to fall on Christmas Eve.

Matt would not have been able to come to REHAB without financial assistance from hospital donors. Thanks to the generous support from people like you in the community, REHAB can continue to help more patients and families like Matt’s regain their independence.

mattbull therapy   mattbull family2