|Cynthia Yackenchick and Matt Gannon rolling by the river |
in Turners Falls.
|Maribeth Dawkins helps Matt get ready for his first |
snowmobile ride in 2003.
At Wendell State Forest, Matt met Cynthia Yackenchick, who works with people with disabilities as an independent service provider. Cynthia, a new volunteer with All Out Adventures, connected easily with Matt, even before they were technically introduced. Eventually Cynthia became Matt's getaway pal, showing up at the door and taking him in his van on various outings, allowing him to enjoy part of his life out in the world separate from his family. Together they took a wide variety of excursions, from motorcycle swap meets to hiking in the Quabbin, many of which have been well documented on facebook.
This is the kind of buddy system I wish so many more people with severe disabilities had in their lives!!! I hope that sharing it here will help inspire others to seek such connections.
I sometimes wonder for every person who makes it out to an adaptive recreation program, how many others are still stuck indoors. Even with exceptionally caring families like the Gannons, the logistics of managing the life and needs of a family member with a severe disability can overwhelm the possibility of recreation. Transportation is a well known barrier to much needed outings. If only there were more adequate funding available, as well as a real system, to help more people access the outdoors!
Rest in peace Matt! We miss you! And thanks Cynthia for all you've done for Matt, as well as the photo of you two! You are both an inspiration of what true friendship can be!