Photo provided by Matthew Murphy
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Matthew Murphy talked about his rock bottom, “My rock bottom was revealed on many levels. The tragedies of seeing our only child undergo life-threatening surgeries while sitting and waiting helplessly is the hardest thing that I ever had to go through. The stress was immeasurable, and you learn not to take advantage of any second that you have in this life or those you love. It was also not until I saw pictures of myself did I realize that my improper lifestyle choices in food, smoking, and lack of exercise were going to impact my little time that I would spend with my son in this world. I wanted to change my own lifestyle to extent our life together. I saw my son overcome the impossible, so in honor of his recovery, I decided to attempt what I considered impossible, to go from an overweight smoker to an Ironman triathlete while helping raise awareness for our cause. The Ironman triathlon is known as the hardest one day endurance in the world consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run all in one day. It took nearly 2 years of my life and countless hours of training while still maintaining a full time job, but finally on May 21, 2012, I became Shawn’s Ironman by crossing the finish line at the Ironman Texas in just under 16 hours. The awareness of my journey continues to inspire others to start their fitness journey and use their own races that range from a 5K to Ironman to help fund the Shawn’s Anomaly mission. Many families are receiving needed assistance that was not there until the non-profit was formed. Unfortunately, the need is greater than the supply, but Shawn's Anomaly is steadily growing with awareness and contributions from the community, sponsors, and corporations.”
His support, “I have to give all credit to my faith in God and our supportive family and community that we have around us. I can't imagine being able to overcome adversity like this without that trinity. I also have to give a lot of credit to my wife for being by my side during this whole journey and picking up the slack while I was out training to become Shawn's Ironman.”
This experience has changed him, “It physically reshaped my body and my mental state as well. Even though it was first introduced because of tragedy, I started to realize how resilient the body was, but our greatest challenge is overcoming the hurdles and doubts in our mind. Crossing the finish line of the Ironman triathlon was just exclamation point to a three year story that revealed many life lessons on relationships, overcoming adversity, charitable giving, health and wellness, nutrition, and love. It proved that anything is possible if you put your mind to succeeding and overcoming the hurdles of life that will inevitably come along while you are on your journey. I now do motivational speaking and use our story to help inspire others to overcome their impossible and live up to their greatest potential. Through a program that we started this year called, iDO!, we offer free motivation and accountability for those that are trying to make a lifestyle change. So many know they have it in them enough to say, ‘I can’ or willing enough to say, ‘I will’, but sadly they never get around to doing it. Our mantra, i Do!, helps them achieve their dreams, www.ido5.org. I know that this all happened to my family for a reason. Change and awareness were needed not only in the world, but in me too. We are happy to see that Shawn is growing up to have a pretty normal life, and we hope that our efforts through Shawn’s Anomaly and the iDO! program will give others the opportunity to live happier lives. I, also, continue to do as many Ironman events that I can to help raise awareness and money for other families in need. Our life was changed forever, and we now hope that our experiences will help with change in the world.”
Matthew’s advice for others suffering through congenital abnormalities, “My most important advice is to acknowledge that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Even though it may feel like are alone, sadly 1 in 30 children are born with congenital anomalies. It is guaranteed that there is another family and community that has gone through what you have been through. Second: NEVER GIVE UP! Take the journey one achievable step at a time. Eventually we’ll run out of steps, and that is when our journey is over. Finally, KEEP MOVING FORWARD! A sedentary lifestyle will always reflect on the negatives instead of the positives of your past.
One of our main missions at Shawn's Anomaly is to provide assistance to families affected by congenital abnormalities. If you or someone you know is looking for guidance and support please contact us through the contact page of www.shawnsanomaly.org.”
Matthew’s passion, “To be honest, my passion has not changed much since the day I was born. I have always wanted to help others and live up to my greatest potential. Fortunately my destiny was revealed through adversity to triumph journey. I am most passionate about spreading awareness about congenital abnormalities through speaking engagements and the upcoming documentary, helping others prove that anything is possible, and being the best father and husband I can be.”
His closing words, “We just released a new video that summarizes our iDO! Health & Awareness campaign on www.ido5.org. This message is for everyone that wants to make a positive change in their lives. I am also available for group speaking engagements.