Matthew Ames: Bionic Dad

Sunday Night presents one of the most beautiful love stories you will ever see. The day 23 years ago that Matthew Ames met Diane at University the teenagers shared a bond - within weeks they both knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.

Matthew Ames - full story

Matthew Ames - full story

Two decades on, and with a happy, healthy brood of four children, disaster struck. At first, Matthew thought he’d just contracted a bout of ‘man flu’, and gave himself a couple of days off work.

When he still didn’t feel any better, he went to four separate doctors who all sent him back to bed.

Finally, in agony, his family took him to the hospital. Within hours he was in a coma and surgeons had operated on his left arm. Matthew had gone into toxic shock from an infection of Streptococcus A – common bacteria we carry in the back of our throats or on our skin. It’s harmless unless, as in Matthew’s case, it gets into your bloodstream.

As the poison spread quickly throughout his body doctors amputated Matthew’s left arm. The next day, they told Diane that Matthew had only a one per cent chance of survival – but they had to remove his remaining three limbs to give him that chance. When asked if she wanted to go ahead, Diane did not hesitate, taking only five minutes to come to a decision.

When he emerged from the coma, Matthew had to be told he’d lost both arms and legs. Diane insisted it had to be her who broke the news, and it was the second toughest thing in the world she’s ever had to do. Tougher was taking the children into hospital to say goodbye to their dad before the life or death operation.

What happened over the following hours, days and weeks to get to this point, 15 months later, is truly inspiring. The strength of the Ames family and the love that exists between this brave man and his wife, the love of his life, is not to be missed.

But Matthew’s battle is far from over. Despite his massive disability, he’s receives minimal government support – his injuries were not caused by a workplace or traffic accident, so he slips through the cracks of our disability support system. Matthew has two simple aims: to be able to feed himself, and to be able to go to the toilet without assistance. To achieve these goals, he’ll need access to state-of-the-art prosthetics costing more than $500,000 – and he needs your help. To follow Matthew’s progress and donate to his fund, visit Renovating Matthew.

Visit the OPRA Implant System website for more information on Osseointegration, – the ‘bionics’ involved in this story.

Matthew's journey