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Matt Johnston Florida Trip

Discussion in 'Matt the Aquaman' started by Capt Gary, Nov 21, 2009.

  1. Capt Gary

    Capt Gary Dive Shop

    # of Dives:
    Location: Tavernier, Florida Keys
    1,242
    239
    63
    Back in 2006 Conch Republic Divers hosted Matt Johnston to come down and go scuba diving. Now that in itself is not a big thing, but the fact that Matt has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, confined to a wheel chair and on a ventilator is. He made history November 2006 by being the first person in his condition to ever go scuba diving.

    In 2006 Matt was 29 years old and this January he will be turning 33. People in his condition are not expected to live past the age of 30.

    I was also able to contact the Today Show who in 2006 came down to document his historic dive. You can see that episode from the link here. Matt Johnston On The Today Show.

    Matt made history on that day and as a result the History of Diving Museum in Islamorada put up an exhibit to his remarkable dive. Matt has never seen the exhibit and I’m working on getting him down here for a week in January to see the exhibit, watch the sunset on our boat, maybe get him a swim with the dolphins the Island Dolphin Care, and just hang out.

    We're looking at January 10th - 17th, 2010. Matt’s birthday is January 12th. So it’s going to be a big birthday party too. Not sure how many more he has.

    Here’s the link to Matt's website.

    I’ve set up a fund for Matt at TIB Bank here in Tavernier.
    Matt Johnson Florida Fund
    C/O TIB Bank
    91980 Overseas Hwy
    Tavernier, FL 33070
    (305)852-9500

    All proceeds to the fund will be used to get Matt here. We’re going to need around $5000 to get him down, provide lodging, transportation, and some activities while here.

    Also Frank of the M/V Spree and myself will be cutting our hair to donate it to Locks Of Love and taking pledges per inch of hair we donate. This money will also got to Matt's fund. More to come or go on this.

    Anyway for those that know Matt know he’s a great guy and if any of you could help fund his trip, it would be very much appreciated. When I think I have problems....well I don’t.

    Good Diving,
     

    Attached Files:

  2. HowardE

    HowardE Diver

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Boca Raton, Florida
    19,220
    1,429
    113
    Thanks for posting this.

    Having spent time with Matt, I can say that I can't think of someone more deserving. Matt is inspirational. I hope that SB members will do what they can to help out.
     
  3. 300bar

    300bar ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location:
    7,433
    105
    63
    Gee long time since we heard from Matt. Hope all's well

    Matt go have a blast in Florida. :yeahbaby:
     
  4. Matt the Aquaman

    Matt the Aquaman Great White

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Woodbury, MN
    3,318
    0
    36
    Thanks Gary for posting. Thanks for the nice words guys. To let everybody know, I'm doing well. I'm not looking forward to winter. :coffee:

    :dancingsnoopy: Have a great Turkey day, safe diving, Matt
     
  5. Capt Gary

    Capt Gary Dive Shop

    # of Dives:
    Location: Tavernier, Florida Keys
    1,242
    239
    63
    So far we've collected $2,900 towards our $5,000 goal. We're so close on this and every little bit helps. Please consider donating anything you can spare to get Matt down to Florida to celebrate his 33rd birthday. We can't do this alone.

    We have a lot of activities planned while Matt is here, so if you donate and can make it down, I'm sure you'll have a great time hanging with Matt the Aqua-man.

    Here's the link once more to go and donate. Matt Johnston Florida Fund


    Good Diving,
     
  6. confuzioncity

    confuzioncity Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Lenexa, KS
    32
    0
    6
    Was Matt able to make the trip and if so, how did it go?
     
  7. Matt the Aquaman

    Matt the Aquaman Great White

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Woodbury, MN
    3,318
    0
    36
    Hello to all,

    I want to extend a huge "THANK YOU" to everyone that made this trip possible. I was able to have many adventures while down in the Keys. We arrived to record breaking cold temps, us Minnesotans were able to tolerate the weather due to our tough hide! It got warmer the longer we stayed by the time we left it was in the mid-80's.
    Here is a quick over-view of the week:

    Arrived Sunday quite late into the evening since we had to stop at Mr. C's ice cream, the Key lime ice cream is to die for.

    Monday started out shopping at the big discount dive store. Met up with everyone and my friend Michelle at a local restaurant across from Capt Gary's dive shop. Later that night was a get together at the Encore Fish House to do a local radio show and great dinner. The sushi was unbelievable! I got the sushi boat and Capt Gary tried to sink my ship!

    Tuesday a few friends went diving early in the morning (freezing there tushs off) and I adventured with a few friends around the area. We all met up at Pro-Bass and had lunch upstairs. I went back to the resort, hung out by the hot tub with friends. It was a beautiful view of the ocean. That evening was a huge Birthday celebration 33rd for me at the History of diving Museum. I was able to see my exhibit for the first time and it turned out Awesome! I thank everyone at the museum for making this night special for me.

    Wednesday started out quite early for a trip to Key West. We were able to have a private tour of the Fischer Museum. That was unbelievable! I got to see a lot of treasure. It was quite remarkable to see the behind the scenes of the museum, many people do not get to see this! Thanks Gary for making this happen it was an awesome museum and experience. After, we took the sidewalks around Key West. Experienced, Jimmy Buffet's restaurant, a stop in at Sloppy Joe's, and then off to Capt Tony's. By the way it is not fun getting stuck in a restroom (LOL), and I left my business card in a very special spot (Check out my pics on Facebook- in the works).
    After the long ride back we stopped at the Island Grill and had a great Dinner.

    Thursday, I said goodbye to a few friends that needed to return to Minnesota. Then, 2 of my friends went diving in the afternoon at Capt Gary's while I spent time working at the Diving Museum as a greeter. I had a lot of fun and enjoyed every moment. Thursday evening we were able to go to my favorite place to eat, The Island Fish Co. in Islamorada. Awesome as always!

    Friday, In the morning we went to Mangrove Cafe Mike's and had the largest pancakes I ever had and darn good. We took an adventure with Capt Gary to an Indian Reservation to see Alligators. BOY, did we see alligators! Very close up and personal. I made a new friend at the Miccosukee Village, his name is Tito. We saw him wrestle alligators, along with a friend of mine decided to stick his hand in a young alligators mouth needless to say he was bit. We all laughed so hard we fell on the ground crying! We are happy to say he is alright, no diseases yet for the baby alligator(HAHA)! He was a happy little guy with razor sharp teeth! Then we really became adventurous: we took a air boat in the Everglades. That was wild, they had never put a power wheelchair on one of those. A little tricky getting on and off but Damn worth every moment! Thanks so much Frank and Gary for making this possible. I really felt like I was part of the Discovery channel! On the way back we had a little detour due to traffic problems only 45 minutes out of the way but it was worth it.

    Saturday we got up and ate Breakfast at Craig's. Then we shopped, shopped, and shopped! We got everything for the surprise birthday party for Capt Gary (AKA Capt America). We met Gary and Brenda down at Robbie's to go feed the Tarpon. There were not many Tarpon due to the cold weather spell. It was a lot of fun! No pelicans this time, bummer. Off to dinner at Outback per Capt Gary for his birthday. He pigged out on dessert not knowing we had a big surprise for him later. After dinner we stopped at Pro-Bass to purchase a new bag since I decided to rip mine to shreds every time I got in and out of the rental van. A highlight was when security almost took me out of the restroom. An old lady screamed at me thinking I shouldn't be in the women/handicap bathroom. What do you do when you have female nurses?
    Then, went back to the beautiful resort. We had a princess birthday party for Capt Gary, pink streamers, pink cake and the prettiest pink birthday card ever! He had his first princess birthday party and probably the ONLY! It was a lot of fun and laughs! It was a complete surprise to Capt Gary, he didn't even see it coming.

    Sunday was a special day. I was able to go to church with Capt Gary and Brenda. It was enjoyable. What a way to end a most joyous trip! We returned to the villa to finish packing and I had a long walk with Capt Gary on the Beach. I enjoy spending time with such a wonderful friend, I am blessed. To end the trip we stopped at Mangrove Mikes for a quick bite to eat before departing to Fort Lauderdale airport. Saying Goodbye was very difficult. Many hugs and kisses.

    I really wish I would have been able to get into the water, but the waves were out of control. To high for this guy! I laughed uncontrollably from the time I woke up in the morning until it was bed time every day. I hung out with such great friends. Even though the weather didn't cooperate at the beginning it was still beautiful because I got to be with my friends in the Keys. I experienced a few things for the first time, I got to ride in the front passenger seat, which deemed me co-pilot. That was fun. I tried oysters for the first time and now I am addicted. Finally, I tried a few new drinks! Stay away from the peaches soaked in vodka! They will sneak up on you.

    I want to express my deep heartfelt "Thank You's" to Capt. Gary and Brenda for making this trip happen. Next, I could not have done it without my caring, devoted nurses, Dena and Sybil. Frank, you are #1 in my book! I couldn't ask for a better friend than you. You are my muscle and my dive buddy. Drew and Beth thank you for all the fun in the Keys! Michelle, It was awesome to hang out with you as always. Everyone at the Dive Museum, Hats off! You did a outstanding job! I am so happy to be part of the history of diving.

    I returned to Minnesota, the frozen cold tundra late that evening. I arrived at my home to a brand new remodeled bedroom! Thanks Dad, Pam and Sara. I appreciate all you do for me.

    This was an awesome trip, the good news is Chapter 2 will be in Vegas the first week of December 2010. I will be speaking at the AARC, a respiratory convention. Newport Medical has requested my presence at this event. I will be discussing my diving experience with my Newport Ventilator. I look forward to more adventures with all my friends. I may just take a detour to CA before returning home to MN after the convention.
    To end, I am continuing my dreams. I am working on a few projects to assist others that have special needs in their diving adventures. Stay tuned for further announcements on these big projects. I am working on getting back to the pool and getting a few practice dives, in early March, 2010.

    Take Care and never stop dreaming,

    Happy Diving,

    Matthew Johnston:):)
     
  8. confuzioncity

    confuzioncity Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Lenexa, KS
    32
    0
    6
    Thanks Matt for the update! Sounds like you had a great time in Florida despite the weather and the waves not cooperating! You are incredible.

    Colleen
     

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