Matthew Tilford lives in the Bay Area and works for a urology company, helping connect people with the right catheters and urological supplies. In this CURE NATION article, he talks about being involved with the disability community prior to his spinal cord injury and what he likes to do to stay active and happy. Plus, Matt gives his advice on picking out the best catheter for your needs!
Matt Tilford Experienced sci when he was 18 Years Old
Matt was a senior in high school when he was involved in a car accident in which he sustained a complete T-12 spinal cord injury. He was taken straight to Stanford Hospital for his initial surgeries and care, then headed to Shriners Hospital of Northern California for rehab. Matt says, “Already being 18 years old, I was so lucky to get into Shriners. I believe their healthcare is some of the best in the world.”
Interestingly, Matt was already familiar with the disability community prior to his accident.
He shares, “The ironic thing is I was actually in the disability world before my injury. I installed hand controls, stair lifts and other vehicle and home modifications. It was a neighbor’s business. I started sweeping his shop in 7th grade, then worked for him all through high school.”
After his SCI, Matt wasn’t sure what his life would be like; what his future would hold. He says, “I was going to go school, but had to go through the rehab process, so I had to put school on hold. The first couple years were tough. I actually pushed away from the community, and thought I didn’t need any mentors or anything. It turns out that wasn’t a good decision. Now I know, the quicker you connect with the community, the better off you are.”
Matt Discovers Adaptive Sports and the Value of Connecting With the Disability Community
For a while, Matt Tilford was having a tough time finding the motivation to return to school or seek out hobbies. Life just didn’t have the same brightness. But, luckily, his family was determined to help him get back out there, and they didn’t take no for an answer.
“I was an active snowboarder and wakeboarder before my SCI,” Matt shares. “My dad was pushing me to get back out and do that kind of stuff. He would show me different brochures and websites with programs or events I could attend. I finally reached out to a non-profit in Modesto called Society for Disabilities. I went out to one of their water ski days and fell in love. I started doing sports regularly with them, then went back to school.”
Matt Tilford continues, “After I finished school, I went back to the non-profit and started working for them. I volunteered at first, part-time, and eventually became their program director, running all their recreational programs. I did that for about 4 or 5 years.”
Around that time, Matt connected with a company making an “exoskeleton” for people with limited mobility. Matt became a brand ambassador for Ekso Bionics, demonstrating the system at trade shows, sales and investor demos. During that time, Matt traveled around the U.S., staying with friends and having all sorts of adventures.
Matt Tilford Settles in the Bay Area and Gets Into Urology
After traveling around the U.S. for about a year and a half, Matt decided to settle down in the Bay Area. He reached out to an old friend that worked at a local urological supply company, and was offered an opportunity.
Matt joined that company last year, and has found his personal experiences with catheters to be really helpful when working with his customers.
Below, Matt shares advice for people who have recently started using catheters, or those who may be looking for a better product:
- First off, sample multiple catheters!
There’s no single product that will work for everyone. Depending on your disability, you’ll have to try out different products to find what will work best for you (considering hand dexterity, length preference, etc.). Try a Cure catheter here.
- Not sure where to start?
Talk to your contact person where you get your urology supplies. And, try talking to someone that actually uses the products, so they’re truly knowledgable about the experience.
- Consider looking into hydrophilic catheters if you haven’t already tried them.
They’re some of the easiest to use and most comfortable products out there!
- Really think about what length would work best for your routine(s).
Keep in mind that some companies measure their products differently, so ask your rep to help clarify. A different-length catheter could make your process so much easier!
- Having multiple UTIs?
Matt has found that many of his customers benefit from taking D-Mannose as a daily supplement, but consult your doctor for medical advice specific to your individual needs.
When it Comes to Quality Catheters, Matt is a Fan of Cure
Matt says, “One of my favorite things about Cure catheters is their packaging – the look is different. They don’t make you feel like you’re stuck in a hospital, and no one wants to carry around products that make you feel like that.”
Matt also is a big proponent of Cure Medical for their commitment to not using scary chemicals in their products. He explains, “Not having to worry about cancer-causing chemicals like DEHP/DINP or BPA in the supplies that you put in your body is also so important – and you have that peace of mind with Cure.”
To request free samples of the Cure Ultra® or any Cure Medical catheter, contact your local distributor of quality healthcare products, or click here.
“I also appreciate that Cure Medical gives back to the community, as well, and that the company was founded by a quad trying to resolve a problem.”
Matt says, too, “As a healthcare provider, I feel like they are the easiest company to communicate with and get samples from. There is no headache at all, so I can easily get the right product to the right people.”
Matt Tilford Stays Active in the Bay Area – and You Can, Too!
For all the rollers looking to stay active in the Bay Area, Matt says there’s plenty to do! Matt runs the United Spinal San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, under SCI Active Network. They offer two meetings a month, one in Berkley and one in San Fran.
Their group not only offers peer support, but also organizes outings and adaptive sports demos for their consumers. They’re hoping to begin having indoor skydiving meet-ups at iFly, so Matt and some friends recently tried out their closest location.
He shares, “I did the iFly indoor skydiving a couple weeks ago as a test run. We wanted to make sure the people running it have good SCI knowledge. It was really amazing. Even though I’ve done skydiving, being inside that tunnel is pretty rad. It’s cheaper, too, and you get two ‘jumps’ in one session!”
The Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP) is another great resource for adults and youth who are interested in connecting with recreational opportunities locally.
Headquartered in Berkley, BORP is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to improve the health, independence and social integration of people with physical disabilities through sports, fitness and recreation programs.And, for people living in the Bay Area and beyond, Matt Tilford wants to share one last resource that can help people get involved with recreational opportunities, wherever they may be.
The Kelly Brush Foundation’s mission is to inspire and empower people with spinal cord injuries to lead active and engaged lives. Essentially, they offer the inspiration to believe and the grants to enable anyone to buy the equipment they need to get out and go.
Thank you, Matt, for Choosing a Cure!
If you’d like to stay in touch with Matt Tilford, connect with him on social media.
Editor’s Note: Matt’s opinions are his own, and this article is not presented as medical advice. For informational use only — consult your physician with questions about your individual health needs.
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Founded by a quadriplegic, Cure Medical is the only catheter manufacturer in the world that donates the first 10% of its net income to support research programs in pursuit of a cure for urinary retention, paralysis, spinal cord injury and central nervous system disorders.
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