5-year-old boy writes his own obituary before dying from rare cancer
A five-year-old Iowa boy who suffered from a rare form of cancer penned his own obituary before succumbing to the deadly disease.
Garrett Michael Matthias passed away on June 6 after fighting a nine-month battle against Stage 4 Alveolar Fusion Negative Rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS), a rare form of cancer that attacked his temporal bone, cranial nerve and inner ear before spreading to other parts of his body.
After learning their son's illness was terminal, Garrett's parents, Emilie and Ryan Matthias, asked their son a list of questions to ensure that he would be remembered the way he wanted to be. The couple then turned their son's answers into an obituary, which they say sounds just like the boy they loved so dearly.
"That's him speaking. Those are his words verbatim," Ryan Matthias told WHO. "When I read it, I'm just like 'wow.' Sounds like Garrett just yapping at me."
In the tear-jerking passage, Garrett lists his favorite superheroes as "Batman…and Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk and Cyborg." He says that when he grows up, he wants to be a professional boxer.
He lists some of his favorite people as "mommy, daddy, (his) sister," as well as his grandparents, "Auntie Janette and Stinky Uncle Andy" and Batman.
Garrett says that the things he loves the most are "playing with my sister, my blue bunny, thrash metal, Legos, my daycare friends, Batman and when they put me to sleep before they access my port."
As for the things he hates? "Pants!" and "dirty stupid cancer."
Emilie Matthias told WHO that one of her son's final requests was that he did not have a traditional funeral because "those are sad." Instead, Garrett asked for a party with five bounce houses, one for each year he lived, a visit from Batman and snow cones.
"You know, why does it have to be sad?" his mother tearfully told the station.
Garrett also asked for a symbolic Asgardian cremation ceremony, similar to how a title character in the Marvel movie Thor was honored upon her death, and for his ashes to then be turned into a tree — a request his parents say they are trying to figure out how to fulfill.
Along with their son's candid answers, Emilie and Ryan Matthias included in Garrett's obituary a heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped their son during his difficult battle with cancer.
"We are so grateful to the many doctors, nurses, child life specialists, musicians, art therapists, and volunteers that worked tirelessly to cure Garrett of his cancer," they wrote. "The reality for Garrett and so many other children is pediatric cancer is an ugly, nasty beast that leaves a path of destruction. For Garrett and many others before him – cancer kills. Those that are ‘lucky’ enough to survive endure long term debilitating side effects and the constant fear of relapse. We will fight for a cure until no other kids are robbed of their childhood, no other siblings lose their best friends, and no other parents have to bury their babies."
"Garrett endured nine months of hell before he lost his battle with cancer. During that time he never lost his sense of humor and loved to tease the doctors and nurses. From whoopy cushions and sneaking clothes pins on their clothes to 'hazing' the interns and new staff doctors, he was forever a prankster."
A GoFundMe has been started to help Garrett's parents cover his medical costs, funeral and any future expenses they may face.