What is Matt's Hope?

I set up this page for my son's friend Matt. On March 13, 2011 he and a group of his friends started a small fire in a barbecue pit in the back yard. One of the boys threw a can of spray paint into this fire. Matt was attempting to remove the can from the fire when it exploded and covered him in boiling paint. As a result, he was badly burned over 40% of his body. He has 3rd degree burns to the entire right side of his face. As well there are areas of 3rd degree burns to both of his hands (including all his fingers) and both arms. There are areas of bad 2nd degree burns to both arms, the right side of his neck, throat, and chest. My son was there and called 911 while another boy who was there made Matt get into the shower and turned the water on. Their quick thinking and quick actions really helped Matt. One made sure help arrived quickly and the other helped cool off the over heated paint which probably kept the burns from being more extensive. I am very proud of them both for taking the correct (and positive) actions rather than panicking and walking away (or running away) from the scene.

Matt was originally treated at a local hospital. A few hours later he was taken to Joseph M. Stills Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia (8 hours away by car, 45 minutes by jet) by a medical jet. This plane is similar to a life flight helicopter, it is an airplane that is also an ambulance. While at the burn center he underwent skin grafts using donor skin to the right side of his face and his arms. According to the burn center's web site "Second degree burns can be treated with a single application of a bilaminate skin substitute, porcine skin or cadaver skin. Most second degree burns heal within 10 days after application of one of these skin substitutes which do not require dressing changes and virtually eliminates the pain. Third degree burns also heal quickly with a split thickness skin graft." (original text can be found HERE) The time for healing given in this quote is referring to smaller burns, so Matt's injuries may take longer considering how large his burns are. These grafts are indeed helping with the pain a great deal, which is wonderful considering how painful burns are. Our hope is that these treatments will also minimize scarring and thus the number of re-constructive procedures he will have to undergo.

Matt now faces a year long recovery period that will include many doctor appointments, procedures, surgeries and more. There will be reconstruction issues, probable physical and occupational therapy and possibly treatment for the trauma. As a result, there will be numerous medical bills coming in on top of the standard living expenses any family faces daily. In order to assist the family we are working on fund-raisers. Information on these various activities will be posted here as will updates on his condition. My hope in doing this is to help provide emotional and psychological support to Matt and his family during this difficult time period. Also I hope to alleviate some of the stress the family is dealing with by helping with the finances.

There is a bank account set up, it is also linked via PayPal. To use PayPal click the "donate" button on the side bar. If you prefer to direct deposit (fund transfer) through your bank, please contact me and I will provide the banking information (routing and account numbers). You can either call me (Missy) or Stephanie at (850) 747-1759, or e-mail me at mattshope11@gmail.com. If you wish to send a message of encouragement to Matt you can do so by e-mailing him using the gmail address already provided, or you can contact us for a regular mailing address.

Thank you for your help!