Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

A Brave Little Angel

28 Aug 2009This story is about a little boy called Mattie Stepanek, who isn’t in the current news headlines, but has stuck in my heart and mind ever since I saw him on The Oprah Whinfrey Show in 2001.

Mattie was born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy and he appeared on the show when he was very sick in hospital. When Oprah asked him what he wanted for Christmas that year, he said “If it's not too much trouble, pray for me." I remember this episode vividly and though I am not overly religious, and don’t usually pray, I prayed for little Mattie, as did people all over the world.

His mother also suffers from an adult form of the disorder and she had lost three children to it previously.

He fortunately recovered and during this time, he and Oprah grew very close. He appeared on her show again, with his messages of hope for peace in the world.

These messages came in the form of what Mattie called ‘Heartsongs’ which in his own words was, “the song in my heart. It was the message in my heart. A heartsong doesn't have to be a song in your heart even talking about love and peace. It can just be your message. It can be your feelings."

With this as his life’s philosophy, he went on to write 5 volumes of bestselling books that contained his poems about ‘Heartsongs’. These bestselling books sold millions of copies.

In 2004, he became very ill again and ended up in hospital. Sadly, this time, Mattie died just before what would have been his 14th birthday.

This video is what Oprah presented the day she announced that he had died. I remember watching it and crying my eyes out. It was so sad to see what he’d lived with at such a young age, but also, so encouraging to see what a brave old soul he had.

He was truly an inspiration and I definitely urge you to watch Oprah’s tribute, it’s so moving, especially if you knew of Mattie and his ‘Heartsongs’.

Oprah’s tribute video - http://www.oprah.com/media/20081025_tows_mattie


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