At age 13 his life on earth ended, but it was definitely Heaven's
great fortune to have gained such a spirit as Mattie's.
Mattie Stepanik was born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy,
Mitochondrial Myopathy, a severe disease that affects the muscles
of the body and brain.
Mattie's mother Jeni has the adult form of this disease, however
did not know that she had it or that it could be passed on to
her children until after she gave birth.
Wheelchair bound, needing a trach and ventilator in order to
breath, a tube into his heart for medicine, and lots of other
special equipment; Mattie never looked at his constant problems
as something to slow him down.
Mattie had a choice to make about his life......
Instead of being bitter about the hand of fate that life dealt
him, Mattie instead became a blessing for those around him and
for thousands of others.
We all have the tendency to look at the little problems that we
face from day to day and seem to think we are victims and
undeserving of what comes our way. Many of us become
bitter and seek revenge for what has happened to us.
It is few on earth who suffer as much as Mattie Stepanik has
had to do his entire life. He never was able to live as most
normal children do.
If anyone ever had a real right to be bitter, it was Mattie.
He never knew if each day would be his last on earth
or not. Very few children with this disease ever reach the
age of 13.
However, in the face of constant pain and certain death,
Mattie Stepanik looked at each day as a gift.
He looked at his life as a blessing.
And Mattie made the most of his short life by helping
this world be a better place. He chose to be an inspiration
and a blessing to all who came in contact with him.
You too have a choice......
What will it be for you this coming year?
You can choose to look at life as a gift and a blessing and
make the most of what you have, or the alternative. It's
really up to you.
Mattie believed that we have the capacity to move
mountains if we just listened to our inner selves.
Mattie had three wishes. One wish was to have his poems
published. Another was to share his message of peace on the
Oprah Winfrey Show. The third was to meet his hero, former
President Jimmy Carter. All three wishes have come true .
Mattie Stepanek has made several appearances on Oprah, and
has also been a guest on Good Morning America, Prime Time Live,
National Public Radio, and Book TV, and has been featured in the
New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune,
Mattie became a spokesperson for the Muscular Dystrophy
Association who preached peace and love and was the author
of five books of poetry since 2001 -three of which made the
NY Times Best Seller List.
When Mattie passed away, his funeral was attended by thousands,
including Oprah and former President, Jimmy Carter. President
Carter spoke at the funeral service saying that he had met
kings and queens, prime ministers and important people all
over the world, but the most special person he had ever had
the privilege of knowing was Mattie Stepanik.