Inspiration to begin the long journey to become an Ironman triathlete often comes from the most unexpected events. Matthew Murphy has just such a story. In early 2009, he was an overweight couch potato awaiting the birth of his first child carried by his wife, Rachel. Everything seemed in order on the day of little Shawn’s birth in June that year. Matthew and Rachel soon learned, though, that Shawn was suffering from several unrelated conditions that would require heart-wrenching treatments. The new parents were afraid for Shawn’s future but clung to their faith in God and His guiding hand.
Fourteen months and three intense surgeries later, Shawn lay in the world renowned Texas Children’s Hospital a survivor. As Shawn recovered, Matthew realized that his small son’s impossible strength stirred him to something new, something impossible. From these unexpected events, Matthew began training for the ultimate athletic event, competing in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
Harnessing the power of this inspiring story, Matthew and Rachel had a desire to give back to those who had helped diagnose and treat Shawn. A research fund at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston has been set up dedicated to discovering causes and treatments for Shawn’s Anomaly. This journey has now become larger than one man and his effort to inspire his son with impossible possibilities. As this first chapter of this story closes, we invite you to join us as the dream expands ever toward the finish.
My wife and I were shocked to find out that there were very few resources for families like ours, so we decided that we would do whatever we could to help prevent another family from feeling helpless and alone like we did. That is when we decided to start Shawn’s Anomaly to provide education, hope, and help to families affected by congenital anomalies. Congenital Anomalies affect 1 in 30 children and are the leading cause of infant deaths according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since the beginning of my journey I have blogged about my progress and have a pretty large following. As I train and participate in the journey’s events, I will be followed by a filmmaker that is helping me share our story and tell the stories of other families who have children affected by congenital anomalies.
Visit Shawn Murphy for more information.