June 11, 1984 - July 08, 2000
It has been 4 ½ long months since we lost our beautiful son Matthew to this deadly disease. It has left our whole family in shock. Matthew comes from a large family; he has 4 brothers Chris 18, Jeffrey 13, Richard 10, Michael 8 and 1 sister Racheal who was 5. He also leaves to mourn 9 uncles, 8 aunts, 29 cousins, grandmas & grandpas, and of course his mom & dad.
Matthew had just finished grade 10 and we were looking forward to a summer on our ranch.
Ten days before Matt got sick he had just received his learner's license, he was so excited. Wednesday July 05, 2000 was a normal day; we rode our horses as we were preparing to go to a horse event called Team Cattle Penning a sport that we participate in as a family. It is a good sport for us, because it allows you to work together as a team and it ties in with our lifestyle, which is raising Quarter Horses and running a cow/calf operation.
Fever of 104
One hour later the rash was more noticeable so I phoned the hospital, and they said to take him to the doctors. We live 25 miles from town it seemed forever to get into town.
On arriving at the doctors we had to wait, finally they told us to go straight to the hospital. There a doctor saw Matt and said he had a blood infection, and because our Intensive Care Unit is closed, they made plans to send him to Prince George, which is a bigger city 1-½ hrs. North of Quesnel. With the 3 hrs. It took to get Matt there he started to fail badly. In Prince George the doctors confirmed he had a meningococcal infection. They then made plans to send him to Vancouver's B.C. Children's Hospital. It was 8 more hours by the time we got there. I flew down with Matt on the plane and Doug drove back to Quesnel to be with our other children. On arriving at BCCH my biological dad, his wife, and my half sister were there to greet me. Thank goodness.
The doctors at BCCH tried very hard to keep Matthew alive the first thing they did was hook him up to Kidney dialyses to try and clean his blood. He continued to fail, I called His Dad and he made plans to fly down. Quite a few of my aunts, uncles & cousins who live in the Vancouver area came for support. I will never be able to thank them enough. July 07 they hook him up to a life support machine that would run his lungs, heart and kidneys to try and give his body more strength to fight.
My cousin Graham and my twin brother Michael drove Doug and I home, it was the longest 7 hours of my life. Arriving home my house was full of people, mainly family. You could not move everyone was crying. We made plans for the funeral. Matthew's Grandpa who is an Elder gave a beautiful talk; Chris related a special fishing experience they shared with a touch of humor. Matthew's friends and cousins also related storied and poems. They say over 600 attended, there was standing room only and lots still outside. The community and the high school put on the tea at Matthew's school. I found it very overwhelming. The community in which we live also pulled together and provided food for my family and all our company for over 3 weeks. They were all so kind.
It is obvious to me that the health care system here in Northern British Columbia is not prepared to handle such a serious illness. My dedication to my son is to make sure that no other child will waste as much time traveling around in ambulances, and making awareness of this deadly infection that took Quesnel by surprise.
You may contact Matthew's Mom Sherry Webster at firstname.lastname@example.org.