A son’s second chance at life, a father’s inspiration to serve
When Bob Jones lost his wife to cancer in 1981, he was left to raise their three children, then ages 12, 10 and 8. Two years later, Bob rekindled his previous career and established his own real estate business in San Leandro, where he still works today.
In 1991, when Bob’s youngest son Matt was 18, he was driving two friends home from a volleyball tournament when a speeding car on Highway 580 cut them off. Matt’s car rolled over three times, splitting his head open. His two passengers suffered broken bones, and Matt was rushed by ambulance to Eden Medical Center (EMC) where the neurosurgery team was waiting. “They said there was not much hope,” recalls Bob. “I was told I would likely be asked if Matt would be an organ donor. Luckily, I never had to answer that question.”
Matt spent 28 days in a coma at Eden before being transferred. With limited mobility on his right side due to neurological damage, Matt was moved to a rehabilitation facility where he worked to regain some strength. Bob will never forget the day Matt spoke his first words after the accident. “I squeezed his hand, and he slowly said three words: ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’”, said Bob. Matt persevered through nearly five months of rehabilitation. “He never stopped pushing,” said his dad. “He would swim 50 laps in an Olympic-sized pool using only one arm and one leg.”
After completing rehab, Matt returned to Eden where neurosurgeons placed a protective plate in his head. He eventually went on to earn his Associate of Arts Degree, and in 2005 passed his real estate exam and began working with his father’s business. Matt celebrated his 40th birthday in 2012 and is now engaged to marry. “I got a second chance at life and now I want to make the most of it,” he said. “We all have to live our life to the fullest, and I want to be the best I can be.”
After Matt’s accident, Bob was inspired to become a donor to Eden Medical Center Foundation and served on its board for nine years. “Having the best care close by was crucial when my son had his accident,” he said. “When I look at Matt today, I know I’m looking at a miracle.”
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