JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A remarkable 3-year-old boy has touched all our hearts at First Coast News, especially our own Tim Deegan. Matthew came in to the First Coast News studios to meet Tim as part of his wish with the Dreams Come True Foundation, and his story is so inspiring, we had to share it with all of you.
Doctors said Matthew wouldn't walk, talk, or eat.
"And they're all just amazed at the progress he's made," the 3-year-old's mom said.
In foster care for the first year and a half of his life, Matthew's mom and dad adopted him last May. Along the way, they noticed a special connection he has with Tim's forecasts.
"Matthew moves his legs back and forth super fast like he's running to Tim," his mom said.
When Tim's forecast comes on, Matthew comes alive.
"That's what he does -- he kicks his feet," Matthew's dad said, showing us a home video that captured it.
Matthew suffers from cerebral palsy, microcephaly, and epilepsy, among others. Doctors believed he'd never be cognitively aware of his surroundings. But his parents say connections, like the one Matthew has with Tim's forecast, show he's capable of much more than anyone thought.
"So I think everybody's written off the theory that he can't. Now we've just got to figure out what he can," his mom said.
In six months, he's learned to walk in his gate trainer. He can take some food by mouth and say five words, his mom said. "Usually it's 'good,' 'wow,' or 'hi.'"
He's become so responsive, his parents say he's now in charge of the T.V.
"He watches Sesame Street until the weather's on and then he watches the weather," his mom said. When Tim asked if he watches the Weather Channel, Matthew's mom said "some, but he doesn't get the same effect."
Tim replied, "Wow you're my best buddy!"
He's also an honorary meteorologist. "OK, we are going to do the weather together," Tim said as he lifted Matthew up and brought him to the chroma key.
"Sun shining over us," Tim said as he clicked through the weather graphics. "Now we're going to cross the big pond and go to London!"
The boy who doctors said wouldn't walk, traveling the world.
"Hey, you're smiling," Tim said. "Look at that smile! This is our Olympic moment. This is a gold medal for sure."
Just don't show Matthew the 7-day forecast. His mom said when he hears the music chimes, "he starts to fuss, he starts to cry, because he knows the weather's ending."
In this child's eyes, Tim even trumps Elmo. Matthew's mom said he even changes the channel to Tim's weather when Elmo is on.
"That really impresses me, because I know how much you like Elmo," Tim said to Matthew.
But nothing is as impressive as this little boy, defying the odds.
When Tim clapped, Matthew laughed and his mom said "That's what you get during the weather. That's the real him, number one fan right there."
As part of Matthew's wish, he'll also be going to Disney World with his family for a week. He'll get to meet his second favorite T.V. personality, Elmo.