Friday, July 21, 2017

How Matt’s Hats got started

Matthew Williams, left, founded Matt's Hats, raising $1300 in 2011 for St. Louis Children's Hospital for childhood cancer research.
Matthew Williams, left, founded Matt’s Hats, raising $1300 in 2011 for St. Louis Children’s Hospital for childhood cancer research.

Matthew Williams, 16, of Vienna, was diagnosed, at the age of nine, with a stage three Ependymoma brain tumor.

At St. Louis Children’s Hospital Matthew had an 8-hour surgery requiring him to stay for an additional three days. He later had to return to St. Louis for three months for radiation therapy. The radiation caused him to lose his hair.

Matthew began to collect hats to hide his bald head. He collected over 200 hats during that period through friends and other help.

Today, Matthew is cancer free and finding ways to reach out to other child cancer patients.

Matthew started a project called Matt’s Hats, to collect hats to be given to young cancer patients at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and money to be given for childhood cancer research at the hospital.

His first donation to the hospital in 2011, included a check for over $1300. His donation in 2012 reached $2000.

Today, Matt’s Hats is on track to donate $5000.

Matthew, with the help of his parents, Boyd and Jeanne Williams, and many volunteers hosted the second annual We Remember concert on Saturday, July 13, at the Vienna City Park.

Approximately 600 people participated in the event that raised nearly $2000 for Matt’s Hats.

During the event, Matthew shared his personal story of dealing with cancer and allowed other local residents to do the same. Christina Botello, Kevin Herren, Hali Prater and a spokesperson for Hannah Smith, who was not able to attend due to her current condition, shared their stories.

The Vienna Grade School Beta Club’s talent group gave a standing ovation, repeat performance of their show that took first place at the Junior Beta’s Nation Convention recently in Mobile, Alabama.

The Beta members painted cooperatively, and to music, on four separate panels to create one large piece of art within a few minutes.

Other musical entertainment throughout the evening included Josh Brandon, Nowhere Bridge, Fare Thee Well and Steve Hornbeak.

Matt’s Hats is expected to become an official 501C3 not for profit organization by the end of this year.

If you would like to help Matthew and Matt’s Hats in any way you can contact him at matthew53097@gmail.com.

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