Iowa boy who died of cancer lights up the hearts of many with his obituary

Garrett Michael Matthias, 5, who died last Friday (July 6) in Iowa has light up the hearts of many with his spunk and humour in his obituary.
Garrett Michael Matthias, 5, who died last Friday (July 6) in Iowa has light up the hearts of many with his spunk and humour in his obituary. PHOTO: Hamilton's Funeral & After Life Services

IOWA - A five-year-old boy whose life was snuffed out by a rare form of cancer last week has lit up the hearts of many with his spunk and humour in his obituary which he helped conceive.

"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," little Garrett Michael Matthias said in the obituary which was published on the website of Hamilton's Funeral & After Life Services.

"Things I hate: Pants! Dirty stupid cancer, when they access my port, needles, and the monkey nose that smells like cherry farts."

After listing the things and people he liked and disliked, Garrett dived into the grim topic of how he wanted his funeral and body handled without losing his usual comical style.

"When I die: I am going to be a gorilla and throw poo at Daddy!" he said.

He added that he wanted his body cremated and the ashes "made into a tree so I can live in it when I'm a gorilla".

As for the kind of funeral he wanted, he said: "Funerals are sad: I want 5 bouncy houses (because I'm 5), Batman, and snow cones."

Garrett from Van Meter, a small city about 30km west of Des Moines in Iowa, was first diagnosed in September with alveolar fusion negative rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer which attacked his temporal bone, cranial nerve and inner ear.

The doctors were blunt about the reality of cancer treatment, his parents Emilie and Ryan Matthias told the Des Moines Register.

"It's not those beautiful commercials with these kids with bald heads that are smiling and everyone is cured," said Mrs Matthias.

"They were upfront that chemo is poison, radiation, burns. The other way is to cut it out. You choose and make hard decisions about poisoning, burning and cutting your child. Those are things nobody should have to do.

"Cancer is horrible. This kid is awesome and he died of cancer."

Garrett underwent aggressive radiation and chemotherapy treatment before his parents discovered the cancer was resistant to treatment and had spread quickly to other parts of his body, according to a GoFundMe page set up i n his honour.

It was then his family decided to give Garrett, who died last Friday (July 6), the wacky funeral he wished for: Five bouncy houses, snow cones, other carnival fare and fireworks.

His funeral service will be held on Saturday at his home.

Donors who donated money to Garrett's family on GoFundMe also left heartfelt messages for his parents. Since his GoFundMe page was created last Thursday (July 5), it has raised US$56,586 (S$77,290) by Saturday (July 14) that will go towards covering Garrett's medical costs and future expenses.

"What a brave, and extremely cool, kid, and what brave, and wonderful, parents you are to follow through like you have," said Ms Kimberly Kelsey.

Another donor by the name Insun Thorlin wrote: "Garrett, give 'em hell up in heaven!"

In his obituary, his family wrote: "Garrett endured nine months of hell before he lost his battle with cancer."

"During that time he never lost his sense of humour and loved to tease the doctors and nurses. From whoopy cushions and sneaking clothes pins on their clothes to 'hazing' the interns and new staff doctors, he was forever a prankster," they added, before signing off with this message.

"See ya later, suckas! - The Great Garrett Underpants."