Kicking Different Kinds of Goals
Mat Rogers & Chloe Maxwell
Gold Coast, QLD
4x4 D-MAX LS-T
Training, fundraising, towing
When you’re a dual international football star and your wife is an A-list celebrity and media personality, life is pretty good. There’s the exotic travel, the exciting people you meet, the honour of playing for your country and walking the red carpet alongside Australia’s rich and famous, for a start.
But, when a doctor tells you that your 18-month son has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), none of that means anything and every aspect of your world suddenly changes. That, at least, was the experience of Mat Rogers and Chloe Maxwell.
Back in 2010, when their son, Max was first diagnosed with an ASD, the celebrity couple had many dark days and found themselves struggling to cope. Chloe admits that she became depressed with the diagnosis and struggled to get out of bed at times. Their marriage was tested and there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel.
Twelve testing months later, they discovered specialised therapy for Max was available. They were fortunate enough to be able to start that treatment almost immediately, and saw a positive change in Max within a week.
When they discovered that they were fast tracked into the therapy program simply because they were the only family on the waiting list that could afford it, they were devastated all over again; this time for the families that had missed out. Mat and Chloe knew straightaway they had to do something about the situation, and it was in this moment that their charity 4 ASD Kids was born.
Fast forward to today and Mat says the entire experience has changed their lives for the better.
Having a son on the spectrum has brought unimagined joy and perspective to their lives.
“Max has taught us what’s important,” says Mat. “He’s a real character. He lives life the way everyone should live life.”
4 ASD Kids is now operating nationally and is helping many people in need by making ASD therapies accessible for families that ordinarily couldn’t afford it. The charity is primarily fundraised through a series of incredible events the not-for-profit organises, such as competing in gruelling triathlons and marathons.
“We didn’t want to go down the normal fundraising path,” explains Chloe. “ We wanted to challenge people and give them something to remember, as well as a way to raise money.”
Mat, Chloe and the team renowned as ‘The Rat Pack’ train hard, and regularly. You’ll usually find Mat hooking up his trailer full of team gear at dawn, heading for the local park to set up for a run, ride or swim. He says his D-MAX is perfect for the job, because it tows so well and fits the whole family.
“I can hook up the trailer, fill the tray with gear and it all works perfectly,” he says. ”It’s great to drive around too, the ride is really comfortable.”
Mat and the whole team at 4 ASD Kids have big goals for the charity moving forward.
Explains Mat: “We want to keep funding families, and more of them. We want to provide them with the information they need, to alleviate the confusion that can be the ASD diagnosis process, and to allow families to focus on what’s best for them.”
The past decade has been an incredible journey for Mat and Chloe, and there’s no doubt that their son Max and their charity has given them a heightened sense of purpose. Chloe explains that helping other families is hugely rewarding. “As a family, we’ll always have our challenges. But being able to help others with 4 ASD Kids gives us a real sense of pride,” she says.
Mat puts it even more emphatically: “I can hand on heart say that our charity is the best thing we’ve ever done. Nothing else comes close, to be honest."
And that’s saying something, when you consider what else this inspiring couple have achieved in their lives.
If you would like to help 4 ASD Kids in their mission, you can pledge your support at 4asdkids.gofundraise.com.au.
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