There’s a popular saying, you should march to the beat of your own drummer. For 12-year-old Matt, his “beat” lies in Christmas and Halloween music—which he likes to listen to year-round. Matt has learned to follow his own rhythm of life as he’s overcome many challenges.

Matt was born with Down syndrome, a hole in his heart and other medical problems. But Matt has the love and support of a great family; a team of dedicated medical specialists; and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals®.

“Matt is now 12 years old and in 5th grade at Melrose-Mindoro Elementary School,” report his parents Kim and Jeff. “His health has stabilized, so he’s just seen for physicals and in otolaryngology.” But that wasn’t always the case.

In the first few years of his life, Matt had multiple surgeries for adenoids, tonsils, blocked tear ducts and to repair the hole in his heart. He also needed a feeding tube, ear tubes and ankle braces, and he suffered respiratory problems including bouts of pneumonia.

There have been many doctor visits, urgent care visits and late-night ER trips. Thankfully, CMN Hospitals was there to help.

“CMN Hospitals provided meal tickets during hospital stays and gas money for travel to and from doctors’ appointments. They also helped with music therapy and an adaptive tag-along tricycle so Matt can go on family bike rides,” Kim recounts.

Child life specialists have assisted Matt and his parents during procedures and tests. “They’ve gone out of their way to distract Matt and make him as relaxed as possible,” says Kim. Child life specialists at Gundersen are also funded through CMN Hospitals.

His parents describe Matt as funny and a kid who loves music, reading books and playing games with his family. He also thinks mummies, zombies and witches are “cool.” Clearly, Matt is someone who’s perfectly happy marching to the beat of his own drummer.

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