Any time spent with a child is precious, but it was more so for Ernest and Anneke Robinson.
Their son, Matthew, was born with severe disabilities including blindness and paralysis from the neck down.
When Matthew was born, the new parents were told that their precious son would only survive for a few hours. But, with the support of his family, Matthew lived to see his 10th birthday.
Even though he could not speak well, Matthew inspired his family and the community.
In 1999, Matthew passed away. His funeral was held in the church and his obituary said, “And then it shall come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.”
His father Ernest determined to make Matthew’s grave at the Salt Lake City Cemetery special and beautiful. Something that is meaningful and makes people think of Matthew.
The base of the tombstone is normal: Matthew Stanford Robinson, September 23, 1988 ~ February 21, 1999.
But when you look up, there’s a boy rising up from the wheelchair. Matthew in a sculpture is reaching up to the sky. He is portrayed as “free of his earthly burdens.”
Matthew’s statue has been a symbol of hope, and people visit him from all around the world.
Enjoy Utah! reports, “One day while driving around doing research at the Salt Lake City Cemetery, I spotted this beautiful headstone and memorial. It immediately brought tears to my eyes, and continues to every time I visit it. Never before had I come across such a touching statue that tells so much just at first glance.
This quickly became my favorite place to drive past in the cemetery, and I added it to the list of graves to visit on my Salt Lake City Cemetery Tour. It speaks volumes about how in this life we may have to suffer through hardships and trials, but when we pass to the other side, our spirits are free from those earthly disabilities.”
In 2000, Matthew’s parents, Ernest and Anneke were inspired by their son and started a charity called Ability Found.
They decided to help disabled people by providing assistive equipment. Ability Found aids people with spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, stroke, cancer, spina bifida, and multiple sclerosis.
Matthew could only live 10 and a half years but his spirit and contribution will last long with his parents’ charity.
Please share the story of Matthew’s family with your friends on Facebook if you think what Ability Found is doing is amazing!
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