Miss Marlene Smits writes a book for sick Matthew from Sint-Truiden (Sint-Truiden)

Two years ago, Matthew’s parents discovered that something was wrong with their son. “He often had bruises that kept coming back or disappeared the same day,” says mother Angela Momen (42) from Sint-Truiden. “After many tests, it was revealed that Matthew had Alpine disease, which is a rare autoimmune disease in which white blood cells malfunction. This presents itself in a lot of illnesses. And when he gets sick, it can get really bad very quickly. At one stage Subsequently, the disease can cause growths to occur, which can lead to cancer.”

“In April, Matthew suddenly stood up with a swollen face,” says Angela. “We had gone to the Kabouterfeest in town the day before. There the kids could play, eat snacks and put on their make-up. At first we thought he had an allergic reaction to face paint or sunscreen, but that turned out not to be the case. Again, many visits ensued. to the doctor and prescribed medicine for Matthew. Since nothing worked, he was taken to the hospital in Leuven for checks for a week. But they also found nothing.”

Miss Marilyn and Matthew Wolfe. © jcr

swollen eyes

Mother Angela continues: “During a subsequent examination, it was found that Matthew had fluid in his lungs and around his heart.” “He was only awake for a few hours after being sedated after a bone scan and had to be put back to sleep to get fluid out of his lungs. We still don’t know exactly what’s causing the swelling. According to the doctors, it probably has nothing to do with the autoimmune disease. Matthew himself is doing fine. His eyes are fine.” They’re swollen, and I don’t even know if he can see well. But he doesn’t mind. He likes to play with his friends and his older brother and sister. He also makes a point of it himself if he can no longer do so.”

Matthew also goes to school well. He is in Kindergarten 3 in the class of primary school Heilig Hart Sint-Trudeau in Sint-Truiden, teacher Marilyn Smits’ class (60). And she has a big heart for all of her little kids. A few years ago I actually wrote a story for a kid who was going through a difficult period. “A boy in my class was at home in the middle of his parents’ divorce and he couldn’t handle it well,” Marilyn says. “Then I made up a story about a little dragon involved in the messy divorce of his parents. The moral of the story is that your parents are in your heart, even though they are no longer together. This is how I want to explain the situation to young children and make them feel that they are not alone.”

A YouTube video with yoga exercises linked to the book. The exercises were shown by teacher Liesbeth Celis and student Wolf. © rr

fellow sufferers

Marilyn studied painting at the Haspengouw Academy. When she had to do a graduation project for this, she knew quickly which direction she wanted to go. “I really wanted to do something right,” says the nursery teacher. I chose to publish the story as a children’s book with my own illustrations. For the book, I also linked to a YouTube video of yoga exercises, demonstrated by my colleague Liesbeth Celis, who has a Ph. D. in children’s yoga, and Wolf Croughs, a boy from school who was in my class once and who is extremely good at acting. With these videos, children who are having difficulty at home learn how to relax. My dream is that the book and video can also be used in other schools for children in such a situation. I was still missing such tools in education.”

But Marilyn has a second goal. “Mathieu’s mother told me how she had to pay 900 euros a month for her son’s check-ups. It kept running through my head. When my book came out, I decided to donate part of the proceeds to Matthew. Gifts are also welcome. This way I was able to deposit 500 euros for the family. Matthew is a sweet child “He’s very enthusiastic about learning and kind. If he’s good, he’ll jump around the classroom. So I’d like to give his parents a helping hand. I also hope to be able to help them in their search for fellow sufferers or experts who know more about Matthew’s condition.”

Mama Angela was touched by this initiative. She says: “Miss Marilyn is a treasure for man.” “I don’t have words for it. The cost is really high. We tried to put Matthew on the list of rare diseases, but it wasn’t approved. However, it’s classified in the chronic disease system, which means part of the medication is reimbursed. At the same time, We hope that through Miss Marlene’s work, we may also reach other people in the same situation. That way they will also know that they are not alone.”

You can order Forever Together in My Heart by Marilyn Smits or make a free contribution to Matthew via stephan.elen@telenet.be or 0498 / 52.95.74

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