Community helps Parker with travel funds for surgery

Published 1:42 am Friday, March 1, 2019

After the community helped Opp native Matthew Parker raise $10,000, he is on the way to New York City this weekend to undergo scoliosis surgery.

When The Star-News first shared Parker’s story last June, he was working two jobs to earn the money needed for a trip to New York City to arrange surgery to correct scoliosis that has plagued him for six years. A friend had just started a GoFundMe account to support him.

Parker made that trip in August, and set a date for his surgery. Support for his GoFundMe account helped immensely for his trip to New York City in July and recent donations have helped tremendously for this trip.

The surgery will involve making an incision in Parker’s spine, twisting the top left curve straight, twisting the bottom right curve straight, placing a titanium rod to straighten the spine, and placing several three inch cobalt screws in each vertebrae.

His recovery will be a long journey, but Parker is optimistic.

“My recovery will begin as soon as I get home where I have to go three months without driving,” Parker said. “I can’t lift anything over 10 pounds for six months and then after the six-month mark I can work my way up to 20 pounds, but then that is as heavy as I can go for a year.”

Parker is heavy into weightlifting and is a little worried about not being able to lift weights during the recovery process, but he is still happy that this surgery is getting done.

“I absolutely love weight lifting,” Parker said. “I go to Cross-Fit at 4:30 a.m., come home and rest until about noon then I’ll go to the gym again for two hours to work out my chest and arms. Even though I won’t be able to lift weights, I feel like this is a chance at a new life. This is a great chance to have a new perspective.”

From his drop boxes at Zaxby’s, The One Stop and donations from the Megan Kelley Foundation, Little Caesars and his church family, Parker was able to surpass his fundraising goal.

“I definitely reached the end goal that I was hoping for,” Parker said. “This will pay for all of my hotel expenses, food expenses, homecare after the surgery and any other necessary costs.”

Parker feels completely blessed by the outpouring of support from the community.

“This is a complete blessing,” Parker said. “God definitely made moves in this situation. I have heard about people praying and saying, ‘God, I don’t know what to do, but if everything goes well and you provide I will serve you,’ and then a miracle will happen, and I have to honestly say that when I gave everything to him, there was a miracle that came through the community. Honestly, this is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I didn’t think that just by working the front desk at Little Caesars, I would have made such a big impact in my community. This was just a great way to see the community’s love for me.”

Already standing at 6’3”, Parker is expected to grow three inches after the surgery.

Parker will fly out of Atlanta this Sunday at 5 a.m., for his surgery in New York City.