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Blind BMX Rider Inspires Students

"If I can entertain them and motivate them to take care of themselves to listen to their parents, teachers and doctors and to treat people with disabilities, they're no different than anyone else."

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Matt Gilman put on a show at Rockland Woods Elementary on Friday.

Gilman performs at schools and events in the area, but it's not only his tricks that are amazing, Matt is also blind. It began when he developed diabetes at the age of nine. 

"I didn't take care of myself," Gilman said. "I tried to be like my peers. Ate like they ate, did what they did kind of thing and didn't take care of my diabetes the way I should have."

Since Gilman didn't take care of his health, his blindness began to slowly develop. 

"They told me I had diabetic retinopathy, which is basically a bunch of blood vessels growing around the retina and pulling on it," Gilman explained. "That eventually ripped my left eye's retina completely."

Matt saw several doctors who tried to save his vision.

"I went through 22 eye surgeries from 2004 to 2006 and a bunch of laser surgeries on top of that."

While knowing he wouldn't be able to see again, Matt says he wanted to continue riding his bike, which has always been a passion of his. So he began sitting on his bike in his basement and worked on his balance. Now Matt is jumping off boxes and wowing his audience with his tricks. 

"School shows are definitely the most fun," Gilman adds. "Mainly because the kids get so excited, and when they get excited and have the energy it gives me the energy to do stuff."

Not only does Matt perform all his moves without the ability to see, he also takes breaks to send a positive message. 

"If I can entertain them and motivate them to take care of themselves to listen to their parents, teachers and doctors and to treat people with disabilities, they're no different than anyone else," he said. 

You can watch more of Matt and his videos on his website here. You can also visit his Facebook page by clicking here

 





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