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Sunday, January 20, 2008

BRAVEHEART

Matthew - Photo credit: Suzie Stalter Guerrant

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not grow weary, and they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:13


Our son was just like every other normal kid for most of his childhood. When 13, he was suddenly stricken with cardiomyopathy which changed his and our lives forever. Today, on the fifteenth anniversary of his life-saving heart transplant, I wanted to share some photos and thoughts.

This post is a tribute to the incredible strength and courage Matthew has shown everyone whose life he's touched. He is indeed our BRAVEHEART!


Playing soccer - Age 6.
Hiking in the High Tatras along the border of Poland and the Czech Republic - August, 1992

Steady as a rock, Matthew listens intently as Dr. Craig Greene explains the heart transplant procedure he is about to undergo - January 20, 1993. Matthew then said, "Lets do it."

Once released from the CVU intensive care, Matthew had many wonderful visitors. Here Hugo, the Charlotte Hornets mascot, presents Matthew with an autographed basketball and other momentoes. Matthew was also visited by player Alonzo Mourning who ironically underwent a kidney transplant some years later.

Atlanta Braves players Mark Wohlers and Melvin Nievens, as well as the team mascot,
stopped by to brighten Matthew's day.


After nine days, Matthew was finally able to return home! After a few weeks, he was well enough to return to school and once again take up biking, hiking, photography and drawing.

My DH made sure Matthew began learning photography at an early age. Here he is in the
darkroom at about age 9.


Matthew studied photography under the incredible Byron Baldwin. Here they are viewing the shots for which Matthew won Gold and Silver Key Awards at the Scholastic Art Competition while in high school.


Matthew continued his photo studies in college, earning a degree in commercial photography.
Photo credit: Scott Holloway


Sometimes I think my son was born with a drawing pencil in his hand. From the time he was little, he's been drawing. He's shown above in a gallery at Spirit Square alongside his art.



The exhibited drawing is shown here. Click on the image for a closer view.
Copyright Matthew Guerrant

This drawing is another personal favorite of mine. It was completed in an honors art class in which students had to study and replicate the art of another. Matthew's inspiration was a photograph by a well-known artist. Copyright Matthew Guerrant

The love of Matthew's life - his bride Suzie. We've all been so happy to have her in our lives. She is a smart, funny, talented and strong woman and we love her very much.
Photo credit: Matthew Guerrant


Hold on My Heart........Throw Me a Lifeline

This is the healing quilt I created following our son's transplant. Three broken hearts, representing Matthew, my husband and me, are symbolized by three different colors: cool blue for Bill who always kept his cool, majestic purple for Matthew and a tiny slice of red for me, as that's all I felt was left of me at that time. Matthew's perfect new heart is shown in the center of the quilt. Images of hands of the cardiologists involved in Matthew's care are hand quilted over the surface of the quilt, with Dr. Mark Stiegel's (the transplant surgeon) being placed on the transplanted heart image. The fabric with the weight-lifter (bottom left) symbolizes the strength Matthew has shown every step of the way.

We are grateful and thankful beyond words for the gift of life given our son. For more information on organ and tissue donation go to:

http://www.unos.org/
http://www.lifesharecarolinas.org/

AND THE BEAT GOES ON!

3 comments:

Patty Cramer said...

How well I remember January 20, 1993. I remember watching Bill Clinton being sworn in as the President of the United States and waited patiently for the phone to ring!!

I remember the call, "he's fine and the heart started beating on its own." Those were the words from my sister Ellen!!

I was able to travel to Charlotte to visit with Matthew and was there for Valentine's day!! How fitting - a Celebration of Valentine's Day with hearts being the biggest symbol.

Matthew is my hero - he has taught me there is nothing I can't get through and nothing I can't face!!

I love all of you!! Today is truly, a very special day!! :)

Love,
Aunt Patty/Ellen's Baby Sister

Ellen Guerrant said...

What a sweet, sweet comment, Patty. That was such a difficult time, but having you here helped so much! You made us laugh,and made Matthew laugh, which is just what we all needed.

We love you. Hope to see you SOON!
I'll get the sewing machines cleaned and oiled and we'll have some fun!

Love ya - Ellen.

Lisa said...

I had no idea that Matthew was so talentedin drawing! I knew was a fantastic photographer, but GEEZ! Fantastic!