Each year, Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute bestows Inspiration Awards on persons:
• who have persevered despite seemingly insurmountable odds.
• whose achievements or outcomes are extraordinary.
• whose actions serve to encourage others.
• who serve as advocates, championing the issues of those with disabilities.
This year, 10 patients—one from each of the communities served by Sister Kenny, plus Kenny Kids—are being honored with the award. Robert Matchinsky of Cambridge is one of the honorees.
Matchinsky has lived with multiple sclerosis (MS) for 17 years. Matchinsky’s progressive form of MS requires him to adjust his daily schedule to align with the amount of energy and strength he has on that particular day. However, Kristy Johnson, Amy Matteson and Jessica Anderson, his physical therapists at Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute-Cambridge, say that his attitude is one of focusing on what he can do and not on what he can’t do.
Matchinsky uses an electric scooter in the community, but is able to use a walker or cane to stand for a few minutes or walk short distances. He embraces challenges and will never take ‘no’ or ‘you can’t do that’ for an answer. He maintains a positive attitude, and is often seen encouraging others in the Sister Kenny – Cambridge lobby before his appointments. He has a friendly smile and kind words for each person he encounters, making the day a little brighter for others.
Matchinsky is involved in MS community events to raise awareness about the condition. He recently cheered on participants of the MS 150 bike race along the race route, where he inspired the participants of this grueling event by serving as a real name and face for the cause.
Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health, specializes in treating people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, cancer, work or sports-related injuries and neurological or muscular disorders including arthritis, and multiple sclerosis and speech-language disorders.