Dr. Matthew A. Weed was born in Colorado Springs, Co on August 30, 1970. Shortly after he was born, his doctors realized that he had congenital cataracts. Surgery was performed and although Matthew could see well enough to read large print until about age 8, he never had normal sight and has been totally blind since he was eight years old.
Possibly due to the effects of the surgery on his immune system, Matthew developed diabetes by the time he was one. Because his father was a diabetic, he probably would have developed diabetes at some point, but many believe Matthew's cataract surgery may have contributed to his developing diabetes earlier than he might have otherwise. These significant challenges, coupled with frequent seizures Matthew had until about age five, fired his family's determination to give him the best possible chance at a full life. Many of his doctors believed he would only live till about twenty-one. Their prognosis was central to his family's determination to help him experience as much as possible.
With the help of many people around him, Matthew had the opportunity to move safely around his neighborhood, go camping and ski.
His parents helped create a school to ensure Matthew's ability to get an education because disabled people like him weren't guaranteed the right to a public education until the fall he started kindergarten. His parents also took him on trips around the United States and later to Europe.
Matthew was also determined to explore and live as fully as he could. He learned that tight control of his diabetes would allow him to have the best possible chance at a full and impactful life. The need for control of his diabetes motivated Matthew to develop the discipline and team building skills that have helped him become the first totally blind, diabetic person to graduate from Yale, Princeton and Harvard universities; complete a rollerblading marathon; and travel all around the world.
His determination to help others using the lessons his life has taught him has helped Matthew co-create a then-novel method for making all kinds of printed material accessible to millions with reading challenges; work with policy makers in the United States and Western Europe; help launch a multi-million dollar research center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; create training programs that have helped hundreds of patients while teaching thousands of health professional students about how people manage chronic health conditions at home and work; and mentor hundreds of current and future professionals working in fields ranging from health and transportation policy, to entertainment and professional athletics.
Matthew never lets his challenges prevent him from seeing opportunities to take action that can impact lives. This life philosophy has helped Dr. Weed build close relationships to hundreds of people who have chosen to join him on his incredible life journey. His life proves that by working together, we can have a profound impact on the lives of others and permanently change how we see ourselves and the people around us too.