WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — When Matt Oliveira was 8 months old, he was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis and his parents were told his life expectancy would be about 25.
He is now 25 and very healthy as he travels the world, thanks to his career as a flight attendant and social media.
“It’s called Mystery Flights,” Oliveira explains, right before talking to his audience on YouTube and Instagram through a portable camera.
Suddenly, the Lincoln native and Las Vegas resident is interacting with the lens near an airport flight monitor, asking his viewers where he should go.
“Israel, Sweden, Switzerland,” he says. “Dubai?”
In another room somewhere, his brother is keeping score and within a few minutes, the vote is in.
And he’s on his way.
“I can fly for free anywhere in the U.S. and for almost nothing anywhere in the world,” he says. “Then I research what is there to do there and pick a hostel and kind of do an impromptu trip.”
Only a few years ago, Oliveira had to take about 70 pills a day to control his CF.
Since then, he’s benefited from medical research, new treatment techniques and a positive, personal outlook.
Oliveira now hopes Mystery Flights will not only send him around the world, but also send a message to anyone with a goal.
“There’s no limits,” he says. “Like I said, it’s all in your head. As soon as you decide you want to do something, it’s funny how many people will get behind you.”
In a matter of two months and now three Mystery Flights, he’s attracted about 7,000 followers on YouTube and another 2,000 on Instagram.
As far as his estimated life expectancy, it’s now up to 40. And you can probably guess what he says about that.
“Oh, goodness no,” Oliveira says when asked if he believes the new prediction. “I’m gonna break right through that because I don’t take no for an answer.”Email Walt at firstname.lastname@example.org with you story ideas and follow us on Twitter:@StreetStories12 and @wbuteau.