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ABOUT THE FOUNDATION

 Forever in Our Hearts 

Matthew John Phillips was born on December 12, 2006 with a complex heart condition. In his fourteen years of life, he brought unmeasurable joy and happiness to his parents, siblings, extended families and friends.

 

After his passing in March of 2021, his family and friends established the Matthew John Phillips Foundation Scholarship in memory of this tremendous young man.

 

Thanks to the support of our donors, sponsors, and event participants, the Foundation is able to award scholarships to graduating seniors from three Massachusetts high schools: Tahanto Regional High School (Boylston), Saint John's High School (Shrewsbury), and West Boylston High School (West Boylston).

Matthew's Story

Matthew John Phillips.

 

How do I begin and where do I start?

 

Our wonderful, vibrant son Matthew grew up in Boylston, Massachusetts with his older brother, Myles, and younger sister, Marielle. In his fourteen years of life, Matthew left a resounding impact on all he encountered with his big, kind heart and a smile that could light up any room. 

 

THE COMPETITOR

He was an active child and enjoyed friendly competition in games such as cornhole, baseball, basketball, ping pong, soccer, swimming, skiing and even video games. He participated in T-Ball, Soccer and Basketball as soon as he was old enough to play and played all three of those sports competitively through Middle School. He was proud to play Middle School Soccer and Golf at Tahanto.

 

Matthew loved playing board games, too. He was a worthy and fearsome opponent in many games including Chess, Checkers, and Stratego. Matthew took the most pride, loved playing and got very good at Ping Pong and Cornhole. His friend, Nick Eck, told a great story of Matthew playing ping pong with their friend Ben Jenoski - Matthew would volly with Ben telling Ben how good he was and then viciously spike it past Ben and laugh. Matthew and his friends did have a unique way of showing their camaraderie at times.

 

THE MOVIE BUFF

Matthew, undoubtedly, loved his movies and TV shows! He could quote lines with the best of them and always took a liking to the characters that offered the most comic relief - most especially the cast from The Office and Guardians of the Galaxy, John Rafael in Parks and Rec, and Stingray in Cobra Kai.

 

He also very much enjoyed Stranger Things, Marvel, Star Wars, and The Goonies. 

 

THE COMEDIAN

For anyone who knew our Matthew, they’d know he loved laughing and we could always count on him to tell a funny joke to make us laugh. Matthew’s laugh was contagious and you could see his smile from a mile away. It sure did seem like he was always smiling - whether skiing down a mountain, getting pulled on a tube behind a boat, or riding a crazy rollercoaster.

 

This sense of humor lasted through to even his final days, as at one of his last hospital visits to Boston Children’s hospital. Though too sore to muster a true belly laugh, his smirk when the clowns from The Laughter League came to visit his room told us that his humor was alive and well!

 

THE BROTHER

In our family, Matthew was the bridge being the middle child. He admired his big brother, Myles, who he revered as a true role model, and, in turn, was always supportive and had a lot of fun with his younger sister, Marielle. Of course, as siblings do, they each got in his crosshairs from time to time but, more often than not, when the three of them were laughing and carrying on - it was Matthew who was in the middle of it. Among the best memories we have are those spent swimming and playing together at York Beach, in Maine.

 

THE FRIEND

Finding a tribe of strong friendships is a special thing to have achieved in just fourteen years. Matthew was fortunate enough to have formed many friendships during his childhood through sports teams, school, scouts, his Friends of Heart group and, of course, through online gaming. 

 

He was a fiercely loyal friend - though a sometimes very vocal adversary (especially when gaming and from what we’ve heard when playing kickball at recess!)  

 

THE SON

For us, Matthew’s parents, it will forever be unfathomable to not be able to see Matthew’s vibrant smile every day. Through this immense grief, we are equally as humbled to have been blessed to call Matthew our son. 

 

Matthew had two open heart surgeries before the age of three - yet he crawled, walked, talked and played on pace with all of his developmental milestones. From this young age, we knew right away that our Matthew was a force - proving his strong will to live and to live well. In all that he did, each and every day, he refused to let his condition define him or hold him back. The amount of pride and admiration that has been instilled in us is impossible to put into words.

 

All our memories of Matthew come back to two simple ideas: a love of life and finding joy and humor in each day. To be in a position to continue his legacy by awarding graduating seniors within our communities who exhibit Matthew’s best traits - who appreciate the joys of everyday life, show kindness, perseverance and a commitment to family, friends and their community - is perhaps the best gift we could ask for and we thank you for taking the time to learn a bit more about our son, Matthew.

Our Board

We are so grateful for our wonderful Board of Trustees who help provide leadership and direction for the Matthew John Phillips Foundation. 

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