A few weeks back, Dave Cornthwaite completed his SUP journey down the Mississippi River. Turns out he wasn't the only one attempting that feat this summer. On June 8 of this year, Matthew Crofton waded out into the headwaters of the Mississippi and started his own 2400+ mile journey down that waterway, following the same path that Dave had taken. Yesterday, Matthew finished up his expedition, arriving at the Gulf of Mexico at long last.
His story is a bit different from Dave's however. While the Mississippi paddle was the latest leg in Cornthwaite's Expedition 1000 project, for Matt it was a celebration of life and living it to its fullest. Last year, he was stuck down with a rare disease known as Histoplasmosis – a fungal disease, contracted from bat guano and most likely picked up while Crofton was spelunking. When the disease set in, it put Matt in a coma, with the prognosis that he had less than 48 hours to live. His family was told that if by some miracle he did manage to survive, he would need a liver transplant and daily dialysis for his kidneys.
The miracle did happen, and not only did Matthew survive, his liver began to regenerate and his kidneys started to function at full capacity again. He did spend three months in the hospital recovering, and another three months learning to walk again, but as a part of his rehab, he took up stand-up paddling.
Almost a year later, Crofton set out on his journey, hoping to set a new world's record for the longest stand-up paddle. Along the way, he also manage to inspire a few of us as well.
Congrats and well done Matthew!