Matthew has made an outstanding impact on his community. We are proud to announce that he has been chosen as a recipient of this year’s Rainbow of Hope award from Shriners Hospitals for Children — Twin Cities. The award recognizes three current or former patients for the contributions they have made to their communities.
Matthew was born with ectrodactyly of the hands and feet, a condition in which part or all of the fingers and toes are missing. At age 5, Matthew had bilateral Symes amputation surgery at the Twin Cities Hospital and was fitted with prosthetic legs that year. “My first set had vintage cars on them and I used to imagine that they’d make me go fast,” he said. Matthew started rehabilitation in a wheelchair, then moved to a walker and that same summer was playing t-ball, surpassing all expectations. “Doctors told my mom that I wouldn’t be able to walk and Shriners Hospitals for Children changed that,” he said.
Matthew is not only resilient, but incredibly kind in giving back to the community. In 2012, he set a goal to collect 100 handmade cards to deliver to children in the hospital. But with the help of Operation Write Home, he was able to deliver over 1,000 cards, donated from all over the country and as far as Australia. He also recently ran a pillowcase drive, collecting almost 800 handmade pillowcases. “Matthew has a heart for service,” his mom Ashley said. “He feels compelled to help people whenever he can.”
Matthew says he doesn’t see his hands or legs as obstacles and can do anything he sets his mind to. His positive attitude and remarkable perseverance make Matthew a role model to others. The Twin Cities Shriners Hospital is proud to honor Matthew with the Rainbow of Hope award. “I feel honored having won the award because there are so many other kids who have done amazing things and it’s humbling to be considered a part of that group,” he said.
The Rainbow of Hope award program was started 1998 by former Board of Governors member, Bill Ash, from Osman Shrine; and Todd Anderson, former director of orthotics and prosthetics at the Twin Cities Shriners Hospital. Each winner receives a cash prize and their name is placed on the Rainbow of Hope plaque displayed in the hospital’s main lobby.