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Matthew’s Graduation Story: Small Acts That Matter

The 2017-18 school year has ended, and throughout Paulding, high school graduation ceremonies are taking place. As I scroll through my news feed, I see all of my friends posting pictures of their kids in their graduation robes, taking the walk to receive their diplomas and the family pictures that take place after the ceremonies. This is a happy time for the proud parents and families involved. It’s also a time for time for the kids to celebrate their hard work. Amongst all of my friend’s pictures, I came across a story of one of these ceremonies, but this one was different. This one was a story about a courageous young man named Matthew, the faculty of his school, and the loving family he’s surrounded by. It’s also a story of perseverance and how good people are.

Matthew was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and from the beginning, he faced an uphill battle. At the age of 10, Matthew had to have surgery to remove a part of his intestines. While in surgery, Matthew had an adverse reaction to the drugs, which caused him to die on the operating table. Matthew laid there for 3-5 minutes before he was resuscitated. However, he was left in a vegetative state, and would soon come out if it only to have to re-learn 10 years of his life. Going through physical therapy would help Matthew return to his elementary school, but constant trips to doctors and hospitals would become a part of his childhood.

Fast forward to a 15-year-old Matthew, and due to complications of the medicines he had to take, it was learned that he had Cirrhosis of the Liver. He would now need a new liver. Matthew sat on the liver transplant list for months waiting. Eventually, the doctors were able to find a liver for him. In 2016 Matthew had his liver surgery, and he was adjusting to his new life, but further complications required him to have a stint in the valve that led to his liver. Shortly after the success of the stint, Matthew’s family learned that his body was rejecting the liver.

On May 29, 2018, Matthew was scheduled to go into surgery. North Paulding High School’s graduation ceremony was to be held on May 25th. Due to the decline of his health, on May 21st Matthew’s parents decided he needed to go into surgery as soon as possible. It was determined by Matthew’s doctors that he would need to go into surgery on May 23rd. Insert Matthew’s teacher Mrs. McLaurin. After talking with Matthew’s parents, Mrs. McLaurin contacted the school board, and the decision to hold a private ceremony for Matthew was made. After persevering through so much, on Tuesday, May 22nd, Matthew received his diploma in front of his family, and many of the school’s officials.

Matthew’s surgery went well, and he is currently waiting to go to the hospital for some more tests on his liver. I live in the North Paulding area, and I have a daughter that graduated from North Paulding High School. Had it not been for Matthew’s sister sharing his story on the website Love What Matters, and a couple of friends posting it on Facebook, I wouldn’t have known. So often we get caught up in our lives that we forget that every day there are good people doing good things in private that go unnoticed. This wasn’t something that was publicized by the school board because it was a private event, but it is something that those involved should be acknowledged and thanked for. It is small things like this that matter. Matthew’s sister told his story because she felt it was something that needed to be shared. I do too.

You can read Tiffany’s story here.

Jason Kitchen was born and raised in Marietta, GA. He graduated from Osborne High School. He’s an ardent sports fan. He’s the father of 3 children and lives with his wife and son in Dallas, Ga

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