Who: Matthew Mursch Jr. in many ways is your typical 8-year-old boy. The son of Matt and Lynn Mursch of Scranton, Matthew is known as an energetic boy who loves using his imagination, playing with his cousins, going on adventures outside, playing video games and drawing. But the second-grader at St. Mary of Mount Carmel School in Dunmore also has had to face a lot more than his peers throughout his life. Born at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a congenital heart defect, Matthew already has endured three open-heart surgeries plus numerous other procedures.
Over the last several months, however, he has faced even more medical issues, including contracting MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) after a failed gastrointestinal surgery. Matthew endured another surgery and later was diagnosed with ALPS, an autoimmune condition in which the body has trouble regulating the number of immune system cells, and which could lead to lymphoma. He stopped going to school and is taking medication to improve his blood levels, undergoing bloodwork at home each week and taking biweekly trips to CHOP for more lab work.
While not knowing whether the treatment is working or how sick he might get has caused stress for Matthew and his family, they look to their faith for support. Matthew remains positive and proactive, doing what he must to get better so he can return to school and his friends.
Why: Donations will help alleviate the medical and travel costs plus more of the family’s financial burdens as his parents continue to miss a lot of work while Matthew undergoes treatment.
In her own words: “Financially and mentally, it is a struggle. Seeing the community come together to help support them gives them the little extra strength they need. Having the extra financial support ensures they can worry less about costs and focus solely on Matthew Mursch Jr., the love of their life.” — Stephanie Williams, longtime family friend
Caitlin Heaney West is the content editor for Access NEPA and oversees the Early Access blog in addition to working as a copy editor and staff writer for The Times-Tribune. An award-winning journalist, she is a summa cum laude graduate of Shippensburg University and also earned a master’s degree from Marywood University. Caitlin joined the Times-Shamrock family in 2009 and lives in Scranton. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5107; or @cheaneywest