Matthew Finds His Wave with Surfers Healing


The days have quickly slipped away since the Surfers Healing camp at Wrightsville Beach, but Matthew Bolander’s memories of that ‘one perfect day’ have not. 

From the very moment he put his toes on the beach early that morning, Matthew’s mom Trish said that she could feel the magic that would unfold throughout the day. She watched Matthew help wax the surfboards in preparation for the many waves ahead, and she saw for the first time the care and compassion that every single person on the beach would show to her son. Their days in Wrightsville Beach were filled with Matthew swinging in hammocks, eating breakfast each morning with new friends, and, of course, surfing. 


At first, it appeared Matthew may not be able to stand on the board. Time and again, he would cruise back to shore sprawled across it or crouched low with his hands supporting him. But after several attempts, Matthew found his wave and stood on his own as if a seasoned pro. He finally returned to a cheering crowd of supporters on the beach, among them his friends Russ, Lexi, and Mercedes from Double Good who had just arrived. Later, he would tell them that he hadn’t stood up sooner because he wanted them to be there to see it.


The road from Iowa to Wrightsville Beach is long, but the love and compassion that the Bolanders received from the Autism Ohana stretches so much further.

“Seeing all of the love and support that everyone involved has had for my son is a feeling that I can’t put into words,” Trish said. “The smile and sense of accomplishment from Matthew through this whole time is what truly has made this a perfect day for us, and we will continue to make everyday for Matthew a complete joy.”

Mercedes, Matthew, Russ, and Lexi

If you would like to support Surfers Healing, you can use code SURFER when you order popcorn, and 50% of your purchase will go toward helping them continue to provide these incredible camps free to kids with autism.


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