Reeve Foundation Story of Impact: Matthew Hoelscher

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on March 16, 2018 # Research, Fundraising

When Matthew Hoelscher created Sonsray Machinery in 2012, he wanted to be sure that serving the community was built into the company’s core values.

“I believe in giving back; it is part of our company motto,” said Hoelscher, owner and president of Sonsray, Inc., which rents and sells heavy machinery from 22 locations across four West Coast states. “Every employee is encouraged to take one day off each year to volunteer in the community. I like giving time because it is something you can never get back.”

Sonsray is also active in helping with disaster relief.

“Fires, mudslides, earthquakes, we often donate rentals to help rebuild,” said Hoelscher. “It is important to me to build a mindset of giving among my 400 employees.”

This year, Hoelscher also decided to add a more focused giving campaign. During the month of December, he set a goal to sell 100 machines with $100 per machine sold to be donated to charity. The most they had ever sold during a single month previously was 80.

“The employees were really excited when we reached our goal,” said Hoelscher. “And I was so happy to be able to donate $10,000 to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.”

Two years earlier, Hoelscher’s six-year-old niece, Eden, had sustained a spinal cord injury at the T8/T9 level from doing a backbend in her living room.

I remember how difficult life was for my brother, Nick, and his wife, Kylee, when it first happened. It was devastating,” said Hoelscher. “I knew nothing about the Reeve Foundation before Eden’s accident, and now the Reeve Foundation is the source of the family’s greatest help and hope.”

In early 2016, Eden was accepted into the Frazier Rehab Institute, part of the Reeve Foundation's NeuroRecovery Network® (NRN) located in Louisville, KY, which recently expanded to include pediatric participants. The family sold their house in California and moved to Kentucky full time.

“My brother and I were always close growing up and we maintain that special bond,” said Hoelscher. “I still can’t believe this really happened. It was hard to see them move from living nearby to half way across the country but I am so grateful they found help.”

Since starting the NRN program, Eden has made significant improvements. She has gained enough core strength to lean forward and back without falling. Now she can move herself around, transfer to and from the couch, dress herself, bathe herself, brush her own teeth and hair, and even tie her shoes. She has also started to recover some sensory function below the injury.

“I follow Eden’s progress. She can do more on her own now which makes her life and her parents’ life much better,” said Hoelscher. “Of course, I want to do whatever I can to help. My goal is to raise awareness about spinal cord injuries and help support finding a cure.”

Like so many, Hoelscher thinks that a cure is within reach.

“I believe that in the next five to ten years, there will be a cure but I hope it is even sooner,” said Hoelscher. “I want to see Eden running across a field somewhere like the other kids and I believe this will happen. The research and technology are moving so fast.”

Hoelscher continues, “Before this happened, I didn’t understand the needs of people living with disabilities. Now I hope that Eden and all others like her get a second chance. I hope that by giving back, it will help us get closer to a cure that will allow Eden to stand, walk and dance.”