A five-year-old boy who passed away from a rare form of cancer has been remembered in a heart-wrenchingly funny obituary that he wrote himself.
Garrett Michael Matthias was diagnosed with an incredibly rare form of cancer, Stage 4 Alveolar Fusion Negative Rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS), in September last year.
It had spread so far from his skull, hitting his cranial nerve and inner ear, that doctors told his parents Emilie and Ryan there was no hope of saving him.
Devastated, the couple started preparing for the end, which included asking him a series of questions so they would remember him in his own words.
He died on June 6.
Now, those words have been printed in the obituaries of their local funeral home in Van Meter, Iowa, ahead of his funeral on Saturday – and within days have become an internet sensation.
Garrett Michael Matthias of Iowa was diagnosed with a rare cancer in September 2017. He passed away on June 6 this year – after writing a hilarious and heart-wrenching obituary
His parents Emilie and Ryan (pictured, with his sister Delphia) asked him a series of questions so they would remember him in his own words. They say his words sound just like him
It reads: ‘The things I love the most: 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.
‘Things I hate: Pants!, dirty stupid cancer, when they access my port, needles, and the monkey nose that smells like cherry farts…I do like the mint monkey nose like at Mayo Radiation and that one guy that helped me build Legos (Randy).’
For his address, Garrett simply wrote ‘I am a Bulldog!’
He added: ‘When I die: I am going to be a gorilla and throw poo at Daddy!’
Garrett told his parents that he wanted to be cremated rather than buried (‘I want to be burned (like when Thor’s Mommy died) and made into a tree so I can live in it when I’m a gorilla’).
And instead of a ‘sad’ funeral, he said ‘I want 5 bouncy houses (because I’m 5), Batman, and snow cones’.
He lists his favorite people with little details, called his sister Delcina instead of Delphina. His refers to his maternal grandparents as the ones ‘with the new house’, and his paternal ones as the ones ‘with the camper’. He remembers his cousins Grady, Luke (‘that guy I took down that one time’), and London Marie, as well as his ‘stinky uncle Andy’, and Batman – among others.
The obituary, published days before his ceremony and fireworks display, has quickly captured the hearts of people in their community and around the world.
Emilie and Ryan said the words sound exactly like their precocious son speaking.
‘That’s him speaking. Those are his words verbatim,’ Ryan said in an interview with WHOTV. ‘When I read it, I’m just like “wow, sounds like Garrett just yapping at me”.’
Garrett told his parents that he wanted to be cremated rather than buried (‘I want to be burned (like when Thor’s Mommy died) and made into a tree so I can live in it when I’m a gorilla’)
Sarcomas are rare types of cancer that develop in the supporting or connective tissues of the body. Soft tissue sarcomas can develop in muscle, fat, blood vessels, or any of the other tissues that support, surround and protect the organs of the body. It is most common in children under four years old, affecting about four in a million.
Rhabdomyosarcomas grow in the active muscles of the body. The most common places for them to be found are the head, neck, bladder, vagina, arms, legs and trunk of the body.
Alveolar rhabdomyosarcomas tend to occur in older children and adolescents.
It is usually treated with chemotherapy, along with surgery or radiotherapy – but it’s unknown what causes it.
Most rhabdomyosarcomas are diagnosed after a person develops symptoms. These may include a lump that can be seen or felt (both painful and not painful); bleeding from the nose, vagina, rectum or throat, if the tumor is in these areas; tingling, numbness, pain and loss of movement, if the tumor presses on nerves in the area.