Olympic fever is in full effect. And this week, as we turn our sights to London, shape our Friday night plans around the opening ceremonies, and rally behind America’s finest athletes, our thoughts also race to a hometown hero who perfectly embodies the Olympic spirit and has overcome all odds to succeed.
A few weeks back, at our inaugural Devine Connections event, we were introduced to walking miracle Matt Miller. Back in 2008, Matt — then a 20-year-old University of Virginia student — suffered a near-fatal cycling collision with a car. With the support of countless doctors, family, friends and mentors, and an iron will to survive, Matt not only recovered but is thriving. He graduated from UVA (on time!), aced the MCAT exam, and is now in his third year at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He rigorously trained for and completed an Ironman triathlon in late 2010, almost exactly two years after the accident. And he recently got engaged to the love of his life and biggest champion, Emily.
Matt is a shining example of this year’s Olympic theme: “survival.” And his inspiring story is chronicled in The Road Back: A Journey of Grace and Grit by Pulitzer Prize-winning Philadelphia Inquirer writer Michael Vitez. Pack this book alongside your favorite beach reads — it won’t disappoint.
We were moved to tears to hear excerpts from the book read by Michael Vitez, and to hear Matt and Emily’s first-hand accounts of the hours, days, weeks and months following the accident. Together, they challenged us to persevere and power through life’s obstacles, no matter how insurmountable they may seem, and to always go for the gold.