When Matthew Stanford Robison was born in 1988, his parents Ernest and Anneke were told he only had hours to live. Due to lack of oxygen and complications at birth, Matthew was born with severe disabilities. He was mostly blind, paralyzed, and spoke few words. Still, he defied the odds and lived for almost 11 years, passing in his sleep in 1999.
In 2000, in order to transform Matthew’s grave into a place of happiness, Ernest and his cousin Susan Cornish fabricated a touching statue that stands in memorial of the young boy’s courage. The inspirational sculpture depicts Matthew climbing out of his wheelchair, healed from his Earthly burdens as he moves toward heaven. In the years since its completion, Matthew’s gravesite has become a source of inspiration for people grappling with disabilities.
“Matthew was a joy and inspiration to all who were privileged to know him. He was a testament to the supreme divinity of the soul and an embodiment of the completeness our spirits yearn for. The godliness of his soul inspired, influenced and blessed all who knew him. He came into this world as a miracle and left this world as a miracle.” This portion of Matthew’s obituary captures the sentiment that also inspired the Robison’s to start the Ability Foundation.
Through their own experiences, they were keenly aware that many people with disabilities are held back because they cannot afford assistive equipment. Since 1993, the foundation has helped those in need get the necessary equipment needed to gain control of their lives.
Replicas of Matthew’s memorial, as well as other memorabilia, are available via the foundation’s website.
These touching words are inscribed on Matthew Stanford Robinson’s memorial sculpture, which is located in the Salt Lake City cemetery in Utah.
In memory of those
who walk more closely
in the hands of God
And who more humbly
the world inspiring
the hearts of men
With their legacy complete
In love, they return
home again to God
To behold his face
and be wholly healed
In joy forever more
All images via the Ability Foundation except where noted.
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