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There's a benefit in Rochester on Sunday to help raise money for Matt's cause. It will be held at Nola's on Lake Avenue in Charlotte from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. It will include food, raffles, and performances from several local live bands.
"I get up every morning at 4:30,” said Matt Austin "I ride 10 miles to the gym. I do 30 miles there, a three hour workout and ten miles home."
Matt’s daily workout most people wouldn't even try to handle.
"It's adventure. I do have the Austin adventure spirit. That's for sure."
Spirit doesn't even begin to describe it.
"I'm trying to show people there's no such thing as a goal or dream that you can't accomplish."
Matt's clock is ticking.
"My buddies used to say I looked like I was dancing in my chair. I was like, I don't know what you're talking about, man."
Those involuntary movements that began at age 15 or 16 were diagnosed as Huntington's disease, a neurodegenerative disorder for which there's no cure. It runs in the Austin family. His grandfather had it. So did Matt's dad.
"He definitely had the rage and he had other symptoms. He had manic depression, he was up and down, up and down, up and down."
On May 4th, 1996, Andy Austin drove his bike to the Water Street Bridge and jumped off.
"Everyone's Huntington's story is different."
Matt's certainly is.
"I refused to let the disease take me like it did my father. I refused to let it affect my life as much."
Matt's inspirational story is being documented; told through something called "A Ride For Matt." The idea comes from his Uncle Adam, Andy's brother, a Palmyra native who's a film technician in the motion picture industry.
Adam's friend, Robert Rippberger, is directing and producing the documentary.
"To see someone who knows that this is what they're facing and at the same time is so gung ho and collected and wanting to make each day the fullest, it's very inspiring,” said Robert Rippberger.
The hope is by telling Matt's story, following Matt and his uncle on a nearly 2,000 mile bike trek, that it can raise awareness about Huntington's disease and raise money for research.
"You have these people who are facing death; who don't have a lot of answers or ways out. But who are still hopeful, pushing onward,” Rippberger said.
"People are angry with themselves and angry that they have this disease. But I'm not angry at this disease, y'know? I consider it a blessing to wake up every day and know that I can live my life in happiness. That's a good thing for me,” Matt said.
Matt and his team will depart from Palmyra on Wednesday. They'll do 75 miles a day until they get to Massachusetts. There's also a second leg of the trip, on the West Coast.
"You'd be surprised how much difference a nice bike will make. A nice road bike,” Matt said.
Living with Huntington's disease hasn't been easy. Matt, too, has battled depression and anger. He won't let it win.
"Carpe diem. Seize the day. Just go out there and live every day and laugh every day, man. That's what I do. I laugh at everything."
The goal is to release Matt's documentary this time next year.
Huntington's for many is a death sentence. Matt Austin doesn't worry about that. He's too busy living.
"I mean, if I can change just one person's life that'll be good enough for me. I'll be happy."