Matthew J.T. Stepanek, best known as “Mattie,” was raised by his mother, Jeni, in Upper Marlboro, MD. He wrote poetry and short stories since the age of three, and his first book of poetry entitled Heartsongs is a collection of his earliest works. Mattie was a frequent public speaker who appeared on Oprah, the Today Show, and Good Morning America and had his poetry published in newspapers and magazines nationwide. In 1999, Mattie was awarded the Melinda Lawrence International Book Award for inspirational written works by Children’s Hospice International. In 2001, Mattie served as the Maryland State Goodwill Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In 2002, he served as both the National Ambassador and the State Ambassador for the MDA.