Mattie Stepanek

by Jonathan from Manitoba, Canada

On July 17, 1990, Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek was born into this beautiful world, but with a rare and deadly case of Muscular Dystrophy called Dysautonomic Mitochondrial Myopathy. This rare disease interrupts his autonomic or automatic functioning, like his breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, digestion, and utilization of his needed oxygen. Mattie made several appearances on national television shows like "Oprah," "Larry King Live" and "Good Morning America" where he met his idol, former president Jimmy Carter. Mattie's mission was to spread peace, faith, and hope. Mattie was born in Washington, DC.

Mattie and Jerry Lewis
Mattie and Jerry Lewis

Mattie took life by the hand, and made every day a great one. His hobbies were building with Lego blocks, rock collecting, reading, playing video games, going online, public speaking, and hanging with "The Martin Girls" (the female cabin at summer camp). Mattie was Roman Catholic. Mattie believed greatly in God, and also believed greatly that God had made him for a special reason. When one of Mattie's siblings died, he wrote a poem at the age of three. This poem enabled Mattie to channel his pent-up anger, sadness, and confusion into words. Some very interesting facts about Mattie are that he received a black belt in Hapkido, and that he was the head elf for "Fantasy Flight" (a trip to the North Pole sponsored by United Airlines and Children's Hospice International).


Mattie loved to play practical jokes. He loved to play along with jokes and funny schemes. Mattie's mom gave him the dining room of their condo as his little "Bachelor's Pad." Mattie was a poet and peacemaker. In 2001, Mattie wrote his first book called "Heartsongs," which was filled with lively poems filled with peace, hope, and faith. With such a huge success with his first book "Heartsongs," he made five other books called "Just Peace: A Message Of Hope," "Reflections Of A Peacemaker," "Journey Through Heartsongs," "Hope Through Heartsongs" and "Celebrate Through Heartsongs."

Some of Mattie's accomplishments were that he became the MDA National Goodwill Ambassador. He also received special awards for public speaking, advocacy, and writing poetry. Unfortunately, on one fateful day, Mattie died at just 14 years old (1990-2004 )in Washington, DC, at the Children's National Medical Center. Deep down in my heart, I truly do believe that Mattie Stepanek was sent here for a reason and that he fulfilled that reason: to spread peace, hope, faith, and of course, God.

Page created on 7/15/2012 4:05:10 PM

Last edited 7/15/2012 4:05:10 PM

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