Matthew defied the odds from the very moment he entered this world. Born in 2005 with multiple, rare congenital heart defects, he should have never survived past 5 days but somehow fought so very hard for 2 weeks until his heart issues were discovered. Enduring multiple surgeries and long hospital stays, he managed to continually amaze his doctors, friends and family with his remarkable ability to quickly and strongly bounce back.
Over the next several years, Matthew grew into a funny, caring, sports-loving young boy. He discovered his true love by playing tee-ball the summer after turning 5 which was only months after yet another an open-heart surgery. Suffering a stroke later that fall, Matthew once again shocked everyone by making a quick and complete physical recovery.
As Matthew continued to grow, so did his love for the game. Joining his first travel baseball team at age 8, he was excited for each practice, each game, each opportunity to be a part of a team. After very long and tiring days filled with multiple games, he’d come home and excitedly ask to play catch with his dad in the yard.
Matthew thoroughly enjoyed every minute on the field and in the dugout for the next 7 years including a trip to Cooperstown in 2017 during which he hit his first and only out-of-the-park homerun. His smile stretched from ear to ear and didn’t leave his face for days. When sidelined by yet another unexpected heart surgery in August of 2019, Matthew never once complained but fought hard to gain back his strength in hopes of trying out for the freshman baseball team at Waubonsie Valley High School. As soon as he was allowed to do so, he began attending off-season workouts. In March 2020, Matthew experienced the greatest joy of his life when he earned a spot on the WVHS team. Though he sadly never got to take the field due to the COVID-cancelled season, he proudly wore his Warrior Baseball hat every moment from day to night for months afterward.
On May 25, 2020, Matthew unexpectedly passed away at home with no struggle and no pain. His heart had been through so much and was simply tired. In his all too short 15 years, Matthew bravely faced more adversity than most people will in a lifetime. He was tough and resilient. He was also funny, caring, playful, and kind. A loving son, proud big brother, amazing grandson, nephew, and cousin. He was a good friend and a supportive teammate.
We are dedicated to honoring Matthew's memory and all that he represented. The Foundation will do this by providing academic and athletic opportunities to young men that display a drive to overcome challenges, have a passion for the game of baseball, and that demonstrate a genuine commitment to being a team player - just like Matthew .