My Little Victories Are Enough for Me

My Little Victories Are Enough for Me

Out of curiosity, I ran an online search of “Kyle Bryant,” one of my best friends. I call him the poster boy for Friedreich’s ataxia (FA), and the search results seem to agree. I scrolled past links to his employee page at the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance, his social media accounts, his autobiography, the documentary in which he co-starred with my fellow columnist Sean Baumstark, their podcast, and his TEDx talk.

So many impressive results. Not bad for a guy with FA. Not bad for anyone.

I previously wrote about how Kyle inspired me to do two things I hadn’t thought I could: get a trike and become involved in the FA community.

Kyle and Matt. (Courtesy of Matt Lafleur)

“Dude,” Kyle said to me on the phone a few weeks ago. “I got a new scooter.” Then he sent me a picture of his sleek power wheelchair.

“What?” I shouted into the phone. “That is so awesome!”

 I was stoked for my friend, and I’m sure he could hear my genuine happiness over the phone.

He might not have registered my surprise. 

During college, I relied on a power wheelchair to get across campus. I loved the independence that it gave me, but didn’t appreciate the lack of effort on my part to be mobile. I wanted to get around using my own efforts, instead of pushing the joystick on a wheelchair.

I promised myself that after college I would stick with a manual chair. But as my disorder continued to progress, I became more reliant on others to push me.

In my foolishness, I sacrificed independence for pride.

But after that phone call, I started the process of getting a power wheelchair, or “scooter.”

I needed Kyle’s nudge. He said it was OK.


Should I be jealous of Kyle? Do his remarkable achievements reflect on my own (lack of) accomplishments?

No way, I decide, as I type my name into Google.

I discovered that I share a name with the current football coach of the Green Bay Packers. (Fun fact: Coach Matt LaFleur and I also share a birthday, a few years apart. Crazy, right?)

I scrolled down through many search results about coach Matt LaFleur. Then on the second page of results, I spot a link to my column, “Little Victories.”

OK, I’ll take it.

(Courtesy of Matt Lafleur)

I’m no Kyle Bryant; I’m just Matt.

And that’s enough for me.

After all, I am standing on the shoulders of a giant.


Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Matt Lafleur was diagnosed with Friedreich’s ataxia at age 11. He has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in mental health counseling.
Matt Lafleur was diagnosed with Friedreich’s ataxia at age 11. He has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in mental health counseling.
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