My Little Victories Are Enough for Me

Matt Lafleur avatar

by Matt Lafleur |

Share this article:

Share article via email
swim, hopeless, progress, identity, physical therapy, thank you, cajun food

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.