Courage, grit and a passion for swimming are just some of the qualities that Matthew Moss, a grade 8 Stirling High School pupil, possesses.
Fifteen-year-old Matthew was diagnosed with amniotic band syndrome, a condition where blood circulation is constricted below the left elbow, leaving him without a lower left arm.
“All the scans up until his birth were fine, no problem was picked up at all. Yes, we were hurt when he was born but that was our child that we were blessed with,” said his mother, Rozanne Moss.
But Matthew’s disability has never stopped him from achieving his dreams.
Competing in multi-disciplinary swimming categories, he recently participated in the senior national gala where he achieved a silver medal in the 50m backstroke.
He also achieved 14 gold medals from two competitions in Stellenbosch and Germiston in April. “I’m really happy and feel that I deserved the medals I got. I was also one of the youngest to compete among others with more serious disabilities,” he said.
He counts his family, friends and coach as his biggest supporters. Matthew is a member of Stirling High’s U15A waterpolo team and is also a member of the Aquanova Aquatics Club.
“I’ve tried to forget that I’m disabled rather than be treated in a special way, because I have a disability,” he said.
Moss is currently taking a break from competition because exams are around the corner.
“My schedule is easier now that I’m in the senior swimming group, and up from last year’s intermediate group,” he said.
His mother noted that there was a lack of visibility for people organising galas for the disabled.
“His swimming has taken us all over the country, and you are inspired by there competitions,” she said.