We are a group of individuals from all walks of life who share a passion for fast cars and racing. We take men and women who have lost their mobility (wounded veterans, spinal cord injury survivors, etc.) out to a race track where we lift them into race cars and take them out on the track to get their adrenaline going. Our goal is to fight the depression that often occurs after an accident and show them life can still be an incredible ride.
When people ask me about my life, I'm not sure where to begin. I’ve had so many interesting experiences. I was born with a blood disorder that prevents my blood from clotting. I grew up in and out of hospitals. As a child, while doctors struggled to control my bleeding issues, I used crutches, wheelchairs & leg braces.
I was born with Hemophilia. Most people with Hemophilia live pretty normal lives. Hemophilia is controlled relatively well with IV injected replacement factors. However, my body rejects these and I have a much harder time controlling internal bleeding. A lot of people will make comments like, “Oh yeah, that’s where you can bleed to death from a small cut." That’s not really the case. The major issue Hemophilia causes is internal bleeding. I tell people that I bleed just like anybody else when I have a cut or scrape (just lasts a bit longer). But internal bleeding can get out of hand when you can’t see where the blood is coming from and can’t give the injured area direct attention. Since I can’t take replacement factors, I get other injectable medications that try to clot my blood. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.
I’ve lived with this genetic disorder, and the struggle to stop bleeding, all my life. My legs show the greatest amount of damage. Doctors told me I had the legs of a 90 year old arthritis patient when I was 16. They wanted to do knee replacements but the fear of not controlling the bleeding has prevented that surgery (which I still need 30 years later). Most of my life has been spent using a wheelchair. As a young teen, I was confined to my wheelchair and any pressure on my legs caused bleeding. I lost all the strength in my legs and my wheelchair became a lifelong companion. When I got older I was able to walk again with physical therapy, but still didn’t gain sufficient strength to get rid of my wheelchair completely. On bad days when I was bleeding into my knees or ankles, I used my chair. Even on my good days 15 minutes on my legs caused great pain and I would need my wheelchair again. In addition to the internal bleeding I've had throughout my body, I’ve also had two intracranial bleeds. Both were life threatening and the second left me unable to write, walk or talk (I was 13). I had to re-learn these motor skills. I could say things in my mind but couldn’t get my mouth to work right. Now I have absolutely no problem saying whats on my mind, and probably say too much.
At the same time I contracted HIV through infected blood products hospitals gave me. They called it another name and I didn’t know I was HIV positive until I was 19. There were also other contaminants in the blood that they didn’t even have a name for. They called it non-A non-B Hepatitis. I had this virus for years before they finally named it Hepatitis C. As a teen I carried three killers in my blood and didn’t even know it. People told me I wouldn't live long. I didn’t listen. At 14, Doctors told me I would never walk again. I didn’t listen.
I’ve spent my life advocating for the bleeding disorders community. I starting speaking about my condition to civic organizations when I was 10 years old. I have since become heavily involved in local and national organizations, working on access to care and trying to mentor younger "blood brothers". I tell them to shoot for their dreams and to not let their health issue hold them back.
I've addressed rooms of patients and their families about living life to the fullest. Many come find me afterward to ask questions or share experiences. Most of the time I end my sessions with comments of gratitude for my friends, family and the support they've given me. I tell them, about how people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I would always respond, "A race car driver...and as I strive to live my dreams I want to see you guys strive to live yours. Remember, I wasn’t supposed to live this long, but when people tell me I can’t do something. I’m not going to listen.
Wheels 2 Wheels is a lifelong dream for Matthew Compton. "Not only do I want to show that my years in a wheelchair can’t break my dream of racing, I want to share this dream with others. I want to bring this same kind of thrill and excitement to those battling with mobility issues. Having this opportunity is amazing, but to provide it for someone else would feel...beyond words".
WHAT WE DO
We are building programs to bring cars to tracks around the country with specially made lifts that can lift and lower a person into our cars for an experience of a lifetime. Your donation helps us build the custom components and lifts to make these dreams happen. From wheelchair wheels to racing wheels, we invite you to come join the ride.
We are a group of individuals from all walks of life who share a passion for fast cars and racing. Some of us don't fit the mold of what the world thinks a race-car driver is and that's what makes us awesome. We hope to share this fun and passion with others who have mobility issues and show them they are not defined by their disability.