Looking at photos of Matteo Hritzo, one quickly sees that he’s bursting with energy — always moving and shakin’. When he’s not, you’ll find him soaking in the action packed glory of his favorite show, American Ninja Warrior.
You’d never expect the young, active kid in front of you to have type 1 diabetes. Over the last two years, Tom Hritzo has watched his son Matteo manage the chronic disease that requires insulin injections multiple times a day, every day. This interruption of life is something no person should have to manage, let alone a child.
Add this on top of every challenge life throws your way and you can imagine the reality Tom faces as a parent of a child with diabetes. He thought the only thing he could do was watch, and be supportive, until he heard about Tough Mudder. After learning about the Tough Mudder Charity Family, Tom realized that he could participate in an event that’s both worthy of a ninja warrior and a way to honor Matteo.
Tom first heard about Tough Mudder through an email from the American Diabetes Association®. He’s always been active — working out, running, lifting weights and even participating in a half marathon prior to having children. This weekend, he’ll be taking on TOUGH MUDDER OHIO, ready to rise to any challenge placed in front of him. In preparation for event day he started fundraising through Crowdrise, already exceeding his goal of $1,000.
He plans to use this experience to show his children why it’s so important to stay active and healthy, while raising awareness around diabetes. Matteo has been Tom’s motivator throughout his training. Every time he goes for a run and his feet or knees (or both) start to hurt, he’s reminded of how strong his son is, giving him the mental grit he needs to finish workouts strong.
An old piece of notebook paper hangs in the Hritzo home with the quote, “You will never beat me.” scribbled on it. Attributed to World Championship Wrestling performer Bill Goldberg, who touted a 137-0 record and often boasted this to his opponents, this is Matteo’s motto.
He’s cast himself as the invincible Goldberg, challenging diabetes to a fight he is determined to beat over and over again. Tom is there too, fighting in his own way to make sure that his son stays undefeated.