Muscular Dystrophy claimed another life before it even really began. Mattie Stepanek a best selling author and champion for people with Muscular Dystrophy was set free of his earthly bonds yesterday at the tender age of thirteen.
Mattie suffered from a rare form of the disease known as mitochondrial myopathy which causes general muscle weakness and impairs regulation of bodily functions such as breathing and digestion.
Mattie’s mother suffers from the adult onset of the disease and his two brothers as well as a sister also succumbed to this horrible life stealing disease.
Mattie began his brief but astonishing career almost as soon as he could talk. He began at first dictating poems at age three in an effort to cope with the loss of his brother who had passed earlier.
His book Heartsongs was published and rapidly reached the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Through his poems he was able to reach many people. People that he touched included such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey, Larry King and of course Jerry Lewis.
He was also named and MDA national goodwill ambassador. In this role which was so important to many people he appeared at functions and fundraisers of the MDA to raise awareness. Yet another job he does not leave unaccomplished.
Mattie had five books published all too great success. Heartsongs, Journey Through Heartsongs, Hope Through Heartsongs, Celebrate Through Heartsongs and Loving Through Heartsongs.
He has appeared on numerous television shows such as the Oprah Winfrey show, Larry King Live and Good Morning America to name just a few. He also made numerous appearances on the MDA telethons hosted by Jerry Lewis.
Truly Mattie was an inspirational source to many people. Not just through his books but in the way he presented himself. A young boy, who in thirteen short years accomplished things that some people cannot achieve in a lifetime, a person that gave of himself, and shared his gifts so unselfishly with the world.
We can all learn from Mattie.
I encourage all of you to give of yourself and support the MDA. I think it is the least we can do for a young man that has given the world so much in such a short amount of time.
Goodbye Mattie and Godspeed.