Many of you may remember Matthew Brown, also known as “Mattman,” who stayed at the Howie’s House with his mother, Kelly, back in 2014. He received his precious gift of life—a life-saving heart transplant—at just five years old. Now Matthew is a bright, happy nine year old boy in the fourth grade, and we are so happy to let you know that he is doing very well!
Before Matthew Brown was five years old, he’d had four heart surgeries. He was born with a defect that was weakening his heart. The day after Christmas in 2013, he was medevacked from his local hospital to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and listed for a transplant.
“I really had no idea how long we’d be away from home,” Kelly explains. Thankfully, Matthew received his transplant on June 25th, 2014 and was able to stay at Gift of Life Howie’s House with her as he recovered.
Kelly and Matthew stayed in Philadelphia for 8 months—from the day Matthew was flown to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to the day his doctors told them it was OK to go home.
During his stay, Matthew was also featured in our 2014 holiday campaign, using his brave transplant journey to help support other families like his.
Four years later, Matthew and Kelly still return to the House every three months for his follow-up appointments.
Matthew says he loves coming back to the Howie’s House because it’s “nice and comfortable and the food is tasty!” Last time he and Kelly were here, they enjoyed a delicious “Philly-style” dinner—cheesesteaks and corn dogs—prepared by our volunteers.
He also loves running into Ms. Diana at the Front Desk. They always have a staring contest and a thumb war. He’s a lot bigger now than he was when he first stayed here, but Ms. Diana can still beat him from time to time.
Matthew is a happy, healthy 4th grader now. His favorite subjects are math and history, and he still hasn’t decided what he wants to be when he grows up. He loves playing video games on the tablet and on his computer, and spending time with his family.
Matthew and his family are just one example of the hundreds that come to the Howie’s House each year navigating the difficult transplant journey.
“The Howie’s House really supported us throughout our journey,” Kelly says. “It was nice to meet families going through similar challenges. It really made me feel so much better.”
It was because of our generous community that Matthew and his mom were able to stay together and had a safe place to return as they adjusted to Matthew’s second chance at life.
Each year, families like Matthew and Kelly’s come to the Howie’s House for support as they navigate the difficult transplant journey, and it is because of people like you that we are able to be their “home away from home.”
We are so proud to have helped a brave boy like Matthew and a strong mother like Kelly, and we look forward to serving other transplant families coming to Philadelphia with you by our sides.