~ Hearts of Bells ~
The Matt Bell Jr. Foundation
Our Mission and Passion
To Support Families with Children
who Suffer from Cardiac Illnesses
About Matt Bell Jr.
Matt Bell Jr, Matthew to his family, was a healthy baby born May 11, 1994. He was perfect. He grew and developed at a normal rate. He had a mom and dad who adored him, grandparents who wooed him and family that loved him just as much as he loved them.
Growing up was text book. There were scrapes, bruises and typical boy injuries. Skateboards were his thing as he aged. Unfortunately, as his passion for skating grew, so did the injuries. But, he would get back on and tough out the pain. Still, everything was great.
On October 12th, 2011. Matthew went to school feeling a bit run down. Like a true Senior, he was on a first name basis with the school nurse. She checked his vitals and found that this time, Matthew was indeed not well. From school to the doctor, from the doctor to the hospital, from the local hospital to one in the city Matthew traveled that day. Each one hoping that his problem could be corrected by the next. So it be, at Mt, Sinai Hospital, he would undergo a procedure to put his heart back into a slower, more normal sinus rhythm. It was there that they found Matthew was a victim of cardiac illness. His heart had enlarged 6 times the normal size due to unspecified reasons. He indeed was very sick. Was the lethargic shuffle, occasional cough, and the rapid heartbeat (that he never told us about) more than a teenage boy tired from hanging out ? Sadly, it was. Matthew spent the next week in the hospital and on numerous medications to combat this and stabilize that.
He was sent home with 8 different prescriptions and a Life Vest that would save his life in case his heart decided to stop. This was as nerve-wracking as the first days he was home with us as a baby. There were no manuals or instructions except take this med, get rest, eat healthy and see you in a few weeks. Checkups were great; he was making progress at every appointment. His heart seemed to be getting better and the medications were getting less. Eventually even the Life Vest was able to go. Normal began to take on a new life. He was back in school, able to see his friends and activities were allowed in moderation. He was whole again. In June 2012, Matthew Graduated high school which was a mile stone we thought we would be robbed of. The days went by very uneventful for months after.
On February 7, 2013, Matthew went to work with his Uncle. While on the job he was walking in from outside and collapsed as he entered through the door. Paramedics were called and CPR was performed. Matthew was not responding. It seemed the same heart that was getting better could no longer beat another minute. Despite all the work, prayers and love that was sent to him, he could not come back.
His family and friends miss him every minute; every day. We hope that with donations we receive, another family will not have to go through what ours did.
We want to thank you all for your support now and in the future.