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Overcoming obstacles

There’s no such thing as barriers, only obstacles. You can go around obstacles, but you don’t let them stop you. That’s the ethos that Vision Australia ambassador Matt Formston lives by.

Matt conquers any challenge he sets his mind to – and anything people say he can’t do. He represented Australia at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, is a national Paracycling champion and also a World Champion surfer. He also juggles a successful career as a motivational speaker, is a proud husband and father of three children.


Matt’s life changed forever when, at the age of five, he lost his central vision and 95% of his peripheral vision. The doctors said he would never have an education or play sports.

But even as a child, Matt was determined to prove his naysayers wrong. This attitude has carried through to the present day. He states, ‘I know whenever anyone says that I can’t do something, if I really choose to do that and it’s in my heart, I probably can.’ It wasn’t until Matt was in his mid-twenties that he accepted his disability, and truly pushed himself to be the best person he could be with the help of supporters like you.

Getting support

Vision Australia was there for Matt when he wanted to learn how to use a white cane. When he was growing up, he refused to have one, but as he got older he found himself needing it in busy places such as airports. Matt says, ‘I went to Vision Australia who were able to give me a cane, and train me how to use it. I don’t use it all the time, but when I need that support, like when I am overseas, I pull it out and use it. It’s been a game-changer for me.’

Living the life he chooses

Determination and passion drive Matt every day to push the bar higher. He breaks boundaries and overcomes every challenge. He throws himself wholeheartedly into life and doesn’t let his vision loss hold him back. Drawing on his own passion, and the support from people like you, Matt is living his fullest life. As a motivational speaker, he talks about resilience and gives his audience the self-belief that they can do anything they want – to just try and not be afraid of failure, to keep going until you reach your goal. It’s a remarkably fulfilling life. Matt says, ‘I’ve been able to live the life I choose and the reason I’ve been able to do that is because of the generosity of supporters who help provide urgently needed services for people like me.’