Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek (July 17, 1990 – June 22, 2004), known as Mattie J.T. Stepanek, was an American poet who published five best-selling books of poetry. Before his death (at the age of 13) he had become known as a peace advocate and motivational speaker.
Matthew Stepanek was born on July 17, 1990. Stepanek's parents divorced when he was a child. He was raised in Upper Marlboro, Maryland and later lived in Rockville, Maryland. His hero is former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who described Stepanek as "the most extraordinary person whom I have ever known".
Stepanek suffered from a rare form of muscular dystrophy, dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy. His three older siblings died from dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy, too. The condition was unknown until his mother was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease in 1992, after all four of the children had been born...
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