Matt Valentine
Written by Joanne Costantino

Meet Matt Valentine. Matt is a Cinnaminson resident and lives during the academic year in New Brunswick, NJ.

Matt, who is now 21, played for the Wings of Steel for 12 years, beginning in February 2000. Throughout his years of playing on the Wings of Steel team he has gained many friends and some are more like family. These kind of connections are personally important to Matt, knowing he has an extraordinary network of people he can count on and that “have his back”, if ever he needed. Matt says, “Some days it is really nice to vent to someone who understands exactly what you’re going through, because they too live daily with the struggles of a disability.” He keeps in touch regularly with former teammates, typically on a weekly basis, but if he feels he’s having an extremely spastic day, he sometimes relies on the bond of his former teammates and connections daily.

Matt is a full time student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, working toward a degree in Public Health, but his goal is to become a Physician Assistant and will be applying to Medical School this summer. His ultimate position would be in Emergency Medicine.

Matt refers to his parents as “two of the greatest people on earth”. Since he is an only child he feels that sometimes his Mom and Dad can lean towards “helicopter parenting”, but also understands that it is done with love and that they care about him more than anything else in life. “That’s a great feeling,” he says.

In Matt’s own words, “Being a member of the Wings of Steel, I have gained many things. I have become friends with some of the greatest, strongest individuals in the entire world and for that I am extremely grateful.”

This summer Matt is also representing his school as part of Rutgers Health Brigade, a student group of volunteers bringing Medical and Dental care and supplies to Honduras, educating some of the village communities in proper healthcare and hygiene. This is an opportunity for student volunteers to get hands on experience while assisting licensed physicians and pharmacists providing and establishing appropriate health standards to the community.

If you would like to support Matt on his volunteer mission, please visit;

http://www.empowered.org/Matt-Valentine