Matthew J.T. Stepanek, best known as “Mattie,” wrote poetry and short stories since the age of three. His first five books of poetry are titled Heartsongs, Journey Through Heartsongs, Hope Through Heartsongs, Celebrate Through Heartsongs and Loving Through Heartsongs. Mattie was a frequent public speaker who has appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America, and Larry King and has had his poetry published in newspapers and magazines nationwide. In 2002, Mattie was awarded the Children’s Hope Medal of Honor, the Verizon Courage Award, and the Humanitarian Award from the Pediatric Nursing Society of America. He also received the Freddie Award for his public speaking and advocacy related to muscular dystrophy and Children’s Hospice. Mattie served as the Maryland State Goodwill Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, as well as the National Goodwill Ambassador for 2002 and 2003. Mattie passed away in 2004 and is survived by his mother, Jeni Stepanek.