The National Advocate for People with Down Syndrome Since 1979

National Down Syndrome Society
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A Family's Gift
A Family's Gift

It was a beautiful day for one family on November 15, 1985. A baby boy had arrived to this family of six, with big blue eyes and blonde hair. What made it even more special is Matthew James Newell was born with Down syndrome. His name was so perfect, Matthew - meaning gift of God. He lived a wonderful life, graduated from Scranton High School in 2005 where he was awarded Mr. Congeniality. Worked in the family business, where he was known as "The Boss" and brought such a joy to the office. What made this young man so special was he truly loved life and loved so unconditionally. Whether you met him for a minute or knew him for years, Matthew truly touched people in a manner no one could. He loved his country and faith like no other. His nieces and nephews were so lucky to have had him in their life, for he taught them what it is to love. A family vacation was what he wanted. So August 14th they headed to Avalon, NJ. They enjoyed flying kites, playing in the sand, walking along the beach and watching the Philadelphia Phillies they were Matt's favorite. This vacation was one his family would cherish forever. Matthew had recently been diagnosed with Grand Maul seizures something that seemed very treatable with medication. On Thursday, August 19th, Matthew woke up and said good morning to his Mother. He actually slept in her bed that night because he just wasn't getting a good night sleep. He told her he slept wonderful! She told him to stay there and rest, it was only 7:10am. They were going to the Zoo that day. Matthew's Mom went up around 8:25am to give him his medicine. Matthew had taken a seizure and died in his sleep, with a beautiful view of the ocean. Oh his dresser was his First Holy Communion Bible and God Bless America Booklet. Over 1500 people stood in the pouring rain to be tribute to Matthew. He touched so many. Just two weeks before his funeral, he met President Clinton, the President put his had on Matthew's shoulder asked his name. There were tears in his eyes, when he was asked if he was happy he said the happiest day of my life. When being interviewed by the news they asked if President Clinton was number one on his list of who to meet? He said actually number two, the Philadelphia Phillies were number one, of course! Today I say dear brother you have certainly done one better, you have met God. Each and every one are the ones that are SPECIAL... we are special because we had Matthew in our lives. To that I say...thank you GOD for Matthew, my wonderful brother and your wonderful gift!




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Judy Newell, United States, PA
11/22/2011 10:46:45 AM
Just want to that Matthew was my son. I couldn't have been more proud of him if he didn't have Down Syndrome. He was the love of our lives. There is not a day goes by that I don't have that moment of sadness just thinking about him.

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