In March of 2017, Matthew was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, a medical condition that would change his way of life due to the constant medical attention that he would require. His life quickly changed. He was admitted to Kaiser Permanente Orange County Medical Center – a place he was soon to become very familiar with.
Over the next few months, Matthew had a number of treatments and procedures necessary to treat his medical condition. Through it all, he left the hospital with a different perspective than what he had originally thought he would leave with.
“When I look back at my time here, the painful memories are overshadowed by the care I received and the people who worked to make sure my journey did not end with sadness and pain,” Matthew said.
Matthew was so grateful for the care given to him at his hospital that he wanted to make sure that future patients like him had an uplifting experience as well.
When approached by Make-A-Wish®, Matthew immediately knew what his most heartfelt wish was. He selflessly wished to give toys and electronics to the pediatric unit at the hospital he once called his home away from home. Matthew wanted to help provide entertainment for future patients, in hope that, they too, walk away with the wonderful memories he did.
“The wish experience itself is incredibly impactful because it provides hope, and hope is so important because patients who have hope during their treatment, do better,” Dr. Van Winkle, Matthew’s doctor, said as he described the importance of a wish experience.
Make-A-Wish worked with Matthew provide all the fun electronics, video games, and toys he wished to give. On the day of his wish, Matthew’s family, friends, doctors and nurses, joined him at his former hospital to celebrate his once in a lifetime wish.
“He’s a very very special young man who touched the hearts of people that he may never see, but his generosity and act of kindness will not be forgotten,” Rich Raynes, Chief Administrative Officer at Kaiser Permanente Orange County, said on the day of Matthew’s wish.