Matthew loved working with his hands; he was a talented welder, and couldn’t wait to attend Idaho State University in the fall, where he planned to pursue welding, with the intention of making it his career. Matthew loved classic rock, hanging out with family and friends, and taking care of his dog, Sprite, aka Spider Pig. As anyone who met him will tell you, Matthew was an extremely kindhearted and generous individual.
His final act of giving was perhaps his most selfless. Matthew was an organ donor, and because of this choice, he had an enormous impact on the lives of six people he was never able to meet.
A few months before his passing, Matthew showed his father his driver’s license. He noticed that Matthew's license said donor on it and asked him, “Why would you want to give your organs to someone else?” Matthew asserted that if he didn't need his organs anymore, so why not donate them? He couldn’t comprehend why anyone wouldn’t choose to be an organ donor, and he let his dad know it! Matthew spoke so passionately about the subject that it was easy to see how truly important being a donor was to him. Knowing his wishes, his family honored them without hesitation. Matthew’s heart, both of his kidneys, his liver, corneas, and various other tissues were sent to the people who needed them the most.
After Matthew passed away, the Wright family was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to meet Landyn, who had received his left kidney. Since then, the Wrights have spent a lot of time with this amazing young man and his family. They are so grateful to be a part of his life and to know that Matthew's gift has helped him thrive.
“Hello Matthew. Thanks for your kidney, it is a pleasure to take care of it at all times.”
Without Matthew's story, there would be no Landyn. Meet Landyn Ozuna.
In the spring of 2018, Landyn’s kidney function started dropping quickly. Everyone was very concerned about what could potentially happen if a donor kidney was not found.
Like all eight-year-olds, Landyn did not fully understand death, but his family definitely did. They were plenty worried on his behalf.
Tanis, Landyn’s mom, was tested to see if she could be a donor. Sadly, she had kidney issues of her own and was eliminated as a candidate.
On the day that the donor kidney became available, the hospital tried to contact Tanis but she was at work with her phone turned off. When Tanis was finally able to speak to the hospital, time was of the essence. Landyn had to be in Portland within eight hours of the call, or he would not be able to receive the kidney that he so desperately needed. Immediately, she left work, grabbed their bags, and the family drove to Portland. At this point, Landyn had been on the donor recipient waiting list for 14 and a half months.
While they were awaiting the transplant to take place, the Ozuna family learned that the kidney donor was a young person from Idaho’s Treasure Valley. Even though the family was beyond grateful that Landyn was getting his much-needed kidney, they were heartbroken that a family had to lose someone they loved for him to get it.
The mixed feelings of love, loss, and devastating grief coupled with hope, optimism, and gratitude are the same to this very day. Before his transplant, Landyn had been through a lot of sickness, surgeries, and hospital stays. With Matthew’s gift, his family hoped that this little boy's journey would finally be full of the magic of being a child.
In May of 2018, KTVB in Boise aired a story about Landyn Ozuna, which can be seen in the video above. From this story, Matthew's mom, Ann, instictively knew that Landyn had received Matthew's kidney. In April of 2019, a story aired about Matthew and the upcoming Dash for Donation. Unknown to Ann, the Ozuna family sensed that Landyn's kidney had come from Matthew. Immediately, they made the decision to meet Ann, which gave her the opportunity to meet Landyn.