Craig was the inspiration behind the journey.
Born with spina bifida, Craig was in and out of hospitals all his life.
“Craig had medical issues his entire life, but he didn’t let it slow him down,” Mattthew said.
In Craig’s early years, The Children’s Wish Foundation granted his cousin his wish to meet “The Great One” — Wayne Gretzky. Later, Craig became a Children’s Wish volunteer, and raised money for the charity at his wedding. When Craig died in 2014, the family of the Corner Brook native suggested donations in his memory be made to the Children’s Wish Foundation.
Matthew’s ride was not only to honour his cousin’s memory, but he continued his legacy by raising funds for the charity dear Craig’s heart.
When the 29-year-old set out on his 7,000-kilometre journey in British Columbia June 7, his goal was to bike about 100 kilometres a day and arrive in St. John’s around the end of August.
He beat that mark by a month by increasing his daily mileage – doubling it on many days.
The ride, in total, took just 56 days.
Matthew was also determined to raise $10,000 for Children’s Wish – Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter. That would have been enough money to grant one child a wish.
By Aug. 2, Matthew’s fundraising goal had tripled. Bringing in $30,000 means he’s made wishes possible for three children with life-threatening illnesses.
“It’s been incredible,” he said. “People have been very, very generous.” Matthew said during a recent phone interview.
When asked about the toughest part of the ride, he said Northern Ontario wasn’t easy.
Also, biking across his home province was challenging, according to Matthew.
“The hills, and the wind and the rain, in Newfoundland made it a tough go for sure,” he said of the last seven days of his ride.
While he rode alone, and packed everything he needed on his bike, Matthew said he certainly didn’t feel alone, especially when he biked across Newfoundland.
“I had to turn down many offers here — people offering me a place to stay, offering me meals,” he said. “People stopped their vehicles and handed over $5, $20. I had a lady yesterday gave me a $100 bill.”
Matthew was grateful to the businesses and individuals who supported his ride.
“We got donations from all around the province and across the country,” he said. “Folks from Labrador have been extremely generous.”
Matthew is a Rotarian, Nunatsiavut Inuit, and outdoor enthusiast. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Memorial University and a Master of Energy Law from the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He spent the first five months of 2017 in Norway on a graduate internship program for Memorial University alumni.
Matthew heads to the University of Guelph in the fall for a Ph.D. program, which is why this summer was the opportune time for him to do his bike ride.
“This was one of my life goals, and to be able to do it for (for Children’s Wish) and have such great response is something I’ll never forget,” he said.
To donate to Matthew’s cause visit him on Facebook and Twitter with the hash tag #BikeRide4Kids.