Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Matthew "Mattie" Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek (July 17, 1990 - June 22, 2004) was an American poet and advocate. At the age of 3, Stepanek started to write poetry to cope with the death of his older brother. His five books are: Heartsongs, Journey Through Heartsongs, Hope Through Heartsongs, Celebrate Through Heartsongs and Loving Through Heartsongs. Three of the five works made the New York Times's Best Seller list.
Stepanek had a rare form of muscular dystrophy, dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy. His sister and two brothers died from the disease, and his mother suffers from the adult form, diagnosed only after her children were born.
In 2002, Stepanek became the Muscular Dystrophy Association National Goodwill Ambassador, due to his national high profile because of his poetry and related appearances on Oprah, Larry King Live, and Good Morning America. He died at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C on Tuesday, June 22, 2004.
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