We’re back for 2021…(hopefully!)

The MightyMatthew Charity Cycle is back for 2021. We live in hope that the Covid restrictions will relaxed by September, so we are planning for a one day cycle back to the Hodson Bay Hotel in the midlands where we will have an overnight stay and celebration. Click on the link to get all the details – https://matthewhayestrust.org/index.php/2021-mm-cycle/

Matthew’s struggles through Covid…

April is Autism Awareness month and is a good time to put a few words together about how Matthew has managed through this pandemic.

We don’t want to complain much, as I know everyone has been through a very trying time, but we need to say that all circumstances are different through this madness. Last March, Matt’s day care centre, Abhainn, closed for the obvious reason, Covid 19. So Matt was sent home from his day care centre with no explanation that could reasonably be explained to him, not to return for four  months. He is now back to 2 to 3 days a week.

Yes, I know all of our kids had similar strange circumstances thrust upon them but with a special needs young adult with complex anxiety issues this, to say the least, was extremely difficult. Matt needs to know everything he’s doing nearly hour by hour. You can’t explain to him why he can’t go swimming, to the cinema, horse riding, trips on the bus, cafes; all the amazing skills he’s been working on for the last few years.

Matt’s world crashed and he didn’t understand why, which brought serious behavioral problems, top of his list; self injurious behavior, which is very difficult to witness.

The worry of Matt getting covid was overwhelming at one stage, if he had to go to hospital and we couldn’t go with him, or he wouldn’t understand isolating or not getting out of the house. If we ourselves got covid, who would look after him. The list is endless and still applies.

He’s a 22 year old man now, phyically very strong, but when his frustration gets the better of him his tendency towards self injurious behaviour can do some terrible  damage in no time at all. I know all of this has affected his mental health in ways he desperately longs to express but is utterly unnable to do so.


We have heard many horror stories throughout this pandemic of young adults just like Matt having to go into full time residential care, some under extreme circumstances because unfortunately their parents could not manage anymore. Matthew is a gift, our love for him is immense and eternal but love doesn’t make the journey easier. It makes us stay on it, despite the constant echoing in the back of our minds. What are we going to do?

With all that said, we would have not survived without you, the Mighty Matthew Crew, who have cycled and supported for the last 5 years and raised money for the Trust.

We were lucky enough that some of our home care team were prepared to stay on and keep going with Matt through the pandemic. Only with their help have we managed to survive, so a Massive Thank You to all of you. I know the cycle didn’t go ahead last year but only for you we’ve no idea where we would be.

It’s been a strange year but all you can do is keep going forward in as positive a frame of mind as possible. As John Spillane would say (sing!) Well done everyone.

Spring 2019…

It’s been a great year for Matthew and we cannot thank you enough for providing the resources to help with Matt’s continued development. With the ongoing help of his carers Al, Antoinette, Sinead and Susan he is making great progress with outdoor activities and becoming part of the community.

Matt has almost completed a 180 degree turnaround in how he interacts with dogs. His anxiety around dogs was affecting his ability to partake and fully enjoy time spent walking in the outdoors and in public parks. His starting point was one of absolute fear triggered by an innocent interaction with a young bouncing slightly over enthusiastic Labrador who simply lifted his paws onto Matt’s chest. Matt was only 8 at the time but it left a long lasting impression. Fast forward to last year and Antoinette decided to try to change Matt’s relationship with dogs. 

She began by showing Matt some pictures of her own dog “Daisy”. Progression through being around Daisy to eventually petting her and finally getting to where we are now whereby Matt actually asks to bring Daisy on his walks. He will now even hold the leash and walk and run with Daisy in the parks. Antoinette showed amazing patience and persistence to make this happen and this helps calm Matt down and allows him more frequent walks in the parks.

Bringing Daisy for a walk

All four carers have put great time and effort into regularly bringing Matt swimming to the point where Matt can now do a couple of lengths of the pool. He really loves the water and again comes home from the pool in a happy and relaxed mood.

So it’s really all about improving Matt’s day to day activities and lifestyle. Thanks to the Trust and all of the hard work put in by the cyclists and volunteers that has developed Matt to the point where activities such as a walk in the park, a short cycle or a swim are now possible. 5 years ago this would have been an unrealistic dream of ours and this amazing transformation has all been made possible thanks to you.

In his day care service with the help of Abhainn, Matt gets the opportunity to interact with a horse by the name of Paddy. He started with a calm walk with the horse and his handlers and has got to the point where he is now calm enough to get on Paddy and have a short ride. Matt enjoys this so much that he takes the initiative to try to get Paddy to trot a little faster!

In terms of being out in the community and now being able to take part in some of the normal day to day activities this has a tremendous impact on Matt and plays enormous part in helping Matt to have a truly happier life.

Sleeping in a Hostel for the first time!

This was borne out when Antoinette and Sinead brought Matt to Lus Mor Hostel in Wicklow in March. They did a few long walking trails out around the resovoir and even managed to have a bit of lunch in the local pub with Matt. This is the first time that Matt has slept overnight outside of his home or a care home. This gave Matt a new freer respite which brought smiles and happiness all round.

Having breakfast with Sinead

Finally on a cycling note Matt got his own bike last Christmas and has managed to complete a lap of St Anne’s Park! With the summer weather we hope to be able to make this a regular activity for Matt and get him out in the open air a lot more often.

Thanks again to all of you for your continued support of the Mighty Matthew Trust. hopefully this gives you some insight into how the trust is working to improve Matt’s life.

Kevin, Lesa, Matt and family.

Matthews progress continues…

Just a note to say thank you to all involved in the Mighty Matthew Cycle this year. It’s heartening to see everyone once again putting in  huge efforts in terms of time and energy to be prepared for the challenge. Lesa and myself are always amazed at the commitment and generosity that surrounds this cycle.

To update you all a little on Matthew’s progress we thought we’d put up a few photo’s of Matt to show how well he’s doing and how the funds raised have made such a difference to his life, and ours, as a result of the happiness and good times he’s clearly experiencing.

Since leaving school last year and joining the Abhainn Day Service in Baldoyle, Matt  with the help of the carers paid by the Trust, has become involved in many new activities and renewed his interest in others that were lost to him.

Matt can now count swimming, horse-riding, and bowling as weekly activities. He occasionally has a cycle and has even been out on the Liffey trying his hand at rowing!

Pauline, Antoinette and Sinead have taken Matt out after Abhainn three or four times a week for the last year or so. This has brought Matt on so much. Matt mostly goes for long walks in the parks or on the beaches. If the weather doesn’t suit for outdoor activity, he goes to the cinema or maybe bowling or simply a long drive, all of which he loves doing.

Sinead, Antoinette and Al have all been helping with Matt for his bedtime routine. This has helped to re- energise the family and allowed us give a bit more time to ourselves and the children and helped greatly for our daughter Alanah through her leaving certificate year.

So, thank you all for participating in the cycle and stay safe.
Kevin, Lesa, Alanah, Billy, Luke and Matthew.

Matthew’s progress through 2017…

An update on Matthew’s progress and a BIG thank you to all for supporting the Mighty Matthew Trust Cycle 2017.

In 2017 Matthew left school and moved into an adult day care service. The transition from school to the new service was very difficult for Matt and it took him time  to adjust to the adult day care service.

Since joining the Abhainn service (Baldoyle) in October Matthew has been making huge strides in participating in and enjoying the normal daily activities that life has to offer. It’s not often you get to use the word exponential in a sentence but it’s true to say that Matthew’s world has widened exponentially from a very narrow base to begin with.

And so this is where the cyclists, support crew, drivers, outriders, medics, sponsors and all who contributed to the Trust, have made it happen, because without the funds raised we would not have been able to employ the services of Sinead, Al, Antoinette and Pauline, each one bringing Matt on to such an extent that he is now greatly equipped to take on the next part of his life.

As a family we have also benefitted greatly. Having the pressure taken off Lesa and myself around the caring of Matt has allowed us the nescessary time for the rest of our family. We have been very lucky that Sinead has actually moved within the St. Michaels Service and joined the Abhainn  service. Sinead is working directly with Matthew and has spearheaded the care and approach taken within the Abhainn service for him. Her experience with Matt for the year and four months before, aided by the Trust fund, has been absolutely incredible.

Other than the first few weeks of finding his feet, having been in a classroom setting in Kilbarrack for fourteen years, Matt has been brought to a level that was hard to see in his future. Taking into account the fact that Matt needed a room for himself away from his pals in the service, he has moved on in leaps and bounds. What started out as highly managed walks has moved on to the Phoenix Park to cycle, Donabate to do Horse riding, cinema trips, bowling, park walks, trips to the shops and even one to Grafton street around Christmas time, all with assistance of course, but free from a lot of the anxieties that hampered his progress in the past. We will be posting a few videos of Matt out and about to throw a bit of light on the results of all the hard work done by the likes of Al, Sinead, Antoinette and Pauline.

Regarding the cycle itself, we are again left in awe of all the people who gave of their time to make it happen, not least Liam and Paul, who have championed the Mighty Matthew Trust  cause for four years now.

Sponsors Hessions, Tyler Owen Architects, The Edge, European Recycling Platform,  Pigeon House, Aryzta, McHugh Kinsella, Eagle Air Conditioning, Marlowe Cleaners, The Pebble Beach, The Glass Centre, Mitsubishi Electric, Move Home Estate Agents, Molson Coors and Little Sport have been huge supporters of the Cycle and we thank you so much for your backing the Mighty Matthew Trust Cycle. Words can’t sum up what an example of goodness you are and have been.

The send off from Paul and staff at the Pigeon House Clontarf was incredible again this year only bettered by some decent weather this time and a cameo appearance from Matt himself with Sinead and Al in attendance. With some encouraging words from Damian O’Farrell to help us on our way, l can say myself, there’s no better feeling as we began the trip. Tinged of course by the fact that Damian had himself planned to do the cycle but came a cropper and injured his arm badly while out on a practice cycle.

Thankfully the cycle went very well again. The girls were absolutely brilliant again this year with nothing left for the cyclists to do but land, eat and get back on the bikes.
The countryside views were a joy again with the best saved for second last as we arrived into Mullaghmor with Ben Bulbin featuring in the background. The last leg over the hill was either the icing or the straw, depending on how you were feeling at that moment.

The last and most heartening cheers and whistles were great to hear. Many thanks to Paul for organising again, the Canadian Molsen Beer welcome we’ve become used to, and of course the fine Cuisine de France food laid on by Dermot Murphy. The Lily Murphy Prosecco Reception was a total surprise and was greatly appreciated by some very thirsty girls.

So many memories for Lesa and myself to take away from this event.
Many thanks to all who took part, with special thanks to Damien, James and Sinead for coming across the water. And where would we be and who would have known where we were or what we were doing without Leanne Hickey’s social media skills.
Thanks must again go to the Dunboyne Motor Club for keeping us moving and safe alongside our van drivers  Damien, Kevin, Joe and sub driver Colly with Robbie and Matthew leading the way with Noel again manning the rear sweeping up any problems that came his way, only to be undone by his own  motor. Thankfully the jeep righted itself eventually on the way back to Dublin . Thanks also to the Road Captains Matt and Paul and their unofficial assistant Eamonn for keeping tabs on us all.
Great efforts by all. So many it’s hard to thank you all. We were delighted to have Dave Ranson and Paul and Ian Deverry with us as we remembered the great times we shared with Orla on the previous cycles.

Lesa, myself and our family are grateful and will never take for granted all your efforts to raise funds for our son Matthew.
To end on a light note l’ll misquote a Taylor Swift lyric of all things.
“Look what you made Matt do”
Thanks again.
Kevin, Lesa, Alanah, Luke, Billy and Matthew.

Dublin City Marathon 2017

We’ve done the Harbour 2 Harbour walk to support Aware, the Virgin 10k night run, the Clontarf half marathon as well as numerous other runs around Dublin. Now John Rush, Darragh Shields and John Deasy have decided to take on our biggest challenge yet in the Dublin City Marathon on 29Oct17.

We’ve been putting in the miles over the past few months so please come out and see us in our support of the Mighty Matthew Trust.

An insight into life at home for Matthew and his family…

The team from Together Video and Clontarf.ie have produced a super video that offers us a little insight into life at home for Kevin, Lesa, Matthew and the family.

We want to take this time to acknowledge everyone’s efforts and dedication to the Matthew Hayes Trust which as you can see is continuing to make a huge difference to their lives and help to provide the necessary care and support for Matthew.

Carmel helping Matt to relax…

I’ve long had an interest in the use of therapies such as Massage & Reflexology on people with special needs.  Over the last year I have had the privelege of treating Matthew. Initially I hoped to use reflexology but the first lesson I learned from Matthew was that He was the Boss.  He was very quick to indicate to me he didn’t like Reflexology but loved Massage.

 While it can take some time to settle Matthew onto the massage table and get him comfortable, its not long once treatment starts that he settles down & relaxes. Matthew reveals to me what he wants whether it is his back, hands or feet and sometimes he likes all three!!!! 

Carmel treating Matt

Matthew is hyper active throughout the day, constantly on the go and would rarely sit down or relax. The positive effects of the massage is that Matthew becomes very relaxed & much calmer very quickly.  Relaxation can combat fatigue & anxiety, lower blood pressure & heart rate and boost circulation which are all hugely beneficial for Matthew.  Also Matthews muscles can be very tight & as I massage them I can feel his tension breakdown.

Matthew & I are building a lovely relationship & I look forward to continuing my work with  him.

Safely getting Matt in and out of the School Mini-Bus & Car…

As the training for this year’s cycle to Sligo intensifies, Lesa and I want to provide some updates over the coming weeks to let you know where the money you raised previously has been spent. Without your amazing support, our life would be totally different and we find it very hard to express our deep appreciation for the efforts of all involved.

As you may know, Matthew has a unique set of requirements and day to day living can be very difficult for him and therefore us, as a family. An ongoing challenge that we faced was getting Matthew safely to and from the school bus & carer’s car that picked him up and dropped him back to our home.  This was a particularly stressful time from Matthew and he often got extremely anxious during the transition.  This resulted in many incidents where he ran out onto the road and it often took Lesa or I over an hour trying to calm Matt down and coax him into the safety of our home.  In these situations, Matthew has no appreciation of road safety but thankfully he was not hurt or seriously injured.

Sinead, one of Matt’s carers, getting Matt safely and calmly into the car to go out for an activity

Thanks to the Trust, we were able to arrange to get a secure gate and hedging fitted in our front garden to prevent Matt from running out and onto the road. The change has been dramatic and has made a significant difference for Matt.  Now anybody, including his carers, can simply drive into the driveway and close the gate behind them, safe in the knowledge that Matthew can transition without anxieties, dangers and worries.  He is now much calmer at these times and it has made the process far less stressful for everybody.

We will provide some more updates over the coming weeks as to where your hard earned money is being spent. In the meantime, enjoy the training and thank you again for your kind support.

Kevin and Lesa