New York Boy With Rare Disorder Can't Eat Solid Food, Invents 'Mighty Matthew' Alter Ego
Matthew Cech refuses to let his rare disorder damage his love for life.
A 13-year-old boy with a rare disorder that prevents him from eating solid food won't let that interfere with his love for life.
Matthew Cech cannot enjoy what other kids celebrate with glee — birthday cakes, ball game hot dogs, a big bag of potato chips — as ingesting a single chip on a field trip last year landed Matthew in the hospital.
But he copes, and in a very big way, thanks to an alter ego he created for himself.
"I love superheroes, but I didn't want to be an actual superhero," he told InsideEdition.com. "I wanted to be my own superhero. So a lady from an organization made me my Matthew suit, personalized for myself. And whenever I put the suit on, I feel happy. I feel like nothing can get in my way."
At age 3, after his parents grew concerned over how bloated the toddler's stomach became throughout the day, and he was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a rare and fatal disorder that affects mostly children.
Mitochondria create more than 90 percent of energy needed to sustain life. In Matthew's case, the disease affects his stomach, leaving his body unable to process solid food.
So he lives with a feeding tube in his belly and subsists on liquid nutrients. He weighs only 51 pounds. He does, however, get to enjoy lollipops and ice pops.
"When someone else is eating something, it makes me a little jealous," he says. "But I've learned that if I eat something, it will do something very bad to me."
He also knows that he must take breaks during play time because he quickly becomes overtired.
Unfortunately for Matthew, his illness has no cure. That's why his parents hope that by coming forward and speaking about Matthew's disease, researchers will be encouraged to find a cure.
Meanwhile, Matthew tries to live as normal a life as he can.
"I'm not really that different because I like having friends that won't acknowledge that I have mito. They'll treat me as if they were treating their best friend or anybody else," he said.
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