Mathew Carroll (Photo: WFO Brownsville)
(Oct. 6, 2011) - It wasn't Christmas or his birthday, but eight-year-old Matthew Carroll got the surprise of his life on Sept. 28. Employees from the National Weather Service forecast offices in Brownsville and Corpus Christi conducted a "gift drive" for Matthew and his family.
Staffers from both offices surprised him and his grandfather with a large assortment of toys and gifts at the Driscoll Children's Hospital in Brownsville.
In December, Matthew was taken to Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi and diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer that occurs in children. After three months of chemotherapy, the cancer continued to spread up his left leg. In order to save his life, the decision was made to amputate just below the knee. Matthew spent several months at the hospital in Corpus Christi and was then transferred to the children's facility in Brownsville.
In keeping with a Presidential Proclamation naming September as "National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month", Brownsville Forecaster Joseph Tomaselli proposed the idea of sponsoring a young cancer patient. The office staffers then focused their efforts on helping Matthew and his family.
"Since he was being hospitalized in Corpus Christi, it made sense to include both offices in this effort", said Steve Drillette, meteorologist-in-charge of the Brownsville office.
During the month, individuals from each office donated gift items from Matthew's "wish list". Over two dozen gifts, ranging from a new bike and soccer goals to gift cards and household items, were presented.
"It was very rewarding, and I am proud to be a part of an organization where people are so willing to put others before self”, said Drillette. "I think we just started an annual project!"
NWS staff from offices in Brownsville and Corpus Christi alongside Matthew Carroll, his grandfather (far left), and Driscoll Children's Hospital oncologist Cris Johnson are, from left: Corpus Christi Warning Coordination Meteorologist John Metz and Meteorologist-in-Charge Scott Cordero; Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley MIC Steve Drillette, Forecaster Joseph Tomaselli, Jr., Data Acquisition Program Manager Jim Campbell, Science and Operations Officer Douglas Butts and WCM Barry Goldsmith. (Photo: WFO Brownsville)