Matthew Ames was 39 years old when what started as a sore throat resulted in the loss of all four of his limbs. He had contracted a streptococcal infection resulting in toxic shock and was never expected to survive. Matthew suffered kidney failure, a detached retina, and permanent hearing loss in addition to the loss of his arms and legs. He was in a coma for three weeks, and spent almost two months in intensive care.
Matthew came home in the first half of 2013, and is a continuing outpatient at the Mater Private Rehabilitation Centre in Brisbane. Now two years later Matthew has beaten the odds, spurred on by the fact that he is the father of four young children aged between four and 11 and husband of a very dedicated wife determined to grow old with him.
Matthew has made a recovery that has amazed everyone who has shared his journey, powered by a positive attitude and focus on what he can do, rather than what he can't. He has started to share his stories with others in the hope that it inspires self-reflection, motivation to be positive about circumstances that arise, and new attitudes toward disability. His family's story has been captured in a recent book, 'Will to Live'. Matthew has been a Queensland state finalist in the 2013 Australian Father of the Year awards, and the recipient of the 2013 Queensland Pride of Australia (Courage) Award.
Matthew has recently completed a series of surgeries associated with a procedure called osseointegration that will enable prosthetics to directly attach to his bones. He will be the first person in the world to have this done on all four limbs. Much of Matthew’s time is currently spent focusing on rehabilitation.
Prior to his illness, Matthew was an executive in the energy and resources sector, an industry in which he had worked for almost 20 years as an environmental engineer and safety professional. His most recent position was as Group Manager, Health Safety & Environment at Origin Energy.