On September 15, 1958, a woman named Ruth gave birth to her
first and only child: a son. She and her husband, Don, named their baby boy Donald Ross Mattingly, Jr. after his father. These
new parents probably had many dreams and hopes for their son, Ross, but they soon learned that there would be more challenges
in raising this child than what they expected because he had Cerebral Palsy. Learning that her son would have a disability
all his life must have broken this young mother's heart, but she faced this challenge with a lot of courage as any loving
Growing up, little Ross would have many obstacles to overcome
including having leg operations and learning and re-learning how to walk after each surgery. Although he had lots of growing
pains during these times, his parents always told him to NEVER give up! This wise advice helped the young lad to keep trying
to walk after every operation until he succeeded.
Ruth always helped Ross pursue his dreams and interests even
though she might have been worried C.P. would prevent him from reaching them. Encouraged by Ross's doctors to get him into
Judo or something that would exercise his leg, she helped him enroll in martial arts because she knew it would help to strengthen
his legs. She bought everything he needed (including his uniform) so that he could earn the different levels of karate belts.
Thanks to her show of support, he was successful in taking these classes.
Knowing how much her son appreciated music, she searched for someone to teach Ross how to play the piano. Then a friend taught him the basics about them
and combining that with what his Dad taught him about the guitar, he continued to be interested in music.
One rainly afternoon, his friend loaned him a guitar to practice
on since he was in a full body cast and couldn't venture out like other teens his age. He's thankful that his Mom and Dad
assisted him to learn about music because playing the guitar has helped him get through many difficult times in his life!
Flying and planes was another great interest
for Ross, so his mother allowed him to take piloting lessons. Although he did quite well with the lessons, he wasn't allowed
to get his pilot's license because of his C.P. and being blind in one eye.