matthew's life
our story
This story began on November 22, 2002. Our first son, Matthew Aidan Cameron was born with a serious congenital heart defect. His condition prevented him from coming home and we spent the next eight months at Columbia Presbyterian Children’s Hospital in New York. We endured daily treks to visit Matthew and spent countless hours at his bedside. We watched our infant son fight through three open heart surgeries and many other surgical procedures. Finally on July 17, 2003 Matthew’s condition was stable enough that we were able to bring him home. And what homecoming it was...ventilator, tracheotomy, feeding tube, and medication in abundance. The question we pondered was not can we do this, but how can we make all of this our new normal.

Before long, oxygen tanks, suctioning, and medication became as second nature as changing diapers. Just as a parent understands the cries of their child, we learned what every "beep" on Matthew's ventilator meant. As Matthew stabilized and began to grow, our family grew too. The challenges of doing normal family things started requiring creativity. We had to figure out how to tie up tubes and pack equipment in a double stroller for walks, how to attach an oxygen tank to a park swing, how to adapt a tricycle for him to ride using Velcro and tape. We wanted Matthew's normal to be every bit the normal of his brothers. Trips to Disney World and Washington, D.C., outings to the beach and the zoo, and riding in Daddy's boat were all a test of organization and patience. Every memory is laced with the one thing that made all the effort worthwhile...Matthew's smile! While we took great lengths to do "normal" things as a family, Matthew had his own little guilty pleasures: to sit in the grass twirling leaves, to watch his DVD player, or to ride his horse, Yankee.

Sadly, on January 19, 2010 Matthew’s life came to an end. Although his life was short, this gentle, happy little boy taught us so much more than we could ever have learned without him. Because we are so thankful for every moment that we spent with him and for every person who made that time easier we won't let our story end here. We were so blessed to have the support of families, friends, nurses and teachers to help us raise this little boy and to give him the fullest life possible.

It is now our hopes to help families with children like Matthew enjoy the big and little things in life. We want to ease their struggles as they create their own version of "normal", so they too can enjoy their time with their child. We are grateful for all your support and hope you can help us write the next chapter in memory of an amazing little boy who started our story. Just as a tree has many branches, we hope to reach out to other families to provide them the opportunity to begin a story of their own.

Our sincerest thanks,
dan and shannon cameron