Wednesday, April 8, 2015

State of the Heart Hospice Patient Enjoys Trip to Disney World

Pictured in the center is Matt Smith on the scooter provided by State of the Heart and Corynna’s Wish. Behind him is his wife Linda. He is surrounded by family members.
For 44-year old State of the Heart Hospice patient Matt Smith, Disney World has had a special magic that he has enjoyed his entire life. Recently, he and his wife and immediate family made Matt’s 32nd trip to Disney World a memorable one.

“Making this trip meant everything to him,” stated his wife, Linda. The couple is originally from Arcanum, but now lives in Union. Matt has pulmonary fibrosis and has been a hospice patient since January of this year.

“I know I do not have a lot of time left, and little time left for vacations,” explained Matt. “Disney World has always been a magic place for me and my family. I went there when it opened in 1971. And, each time, it has still had the ‘wow factor’. Going to Disney World is almost surreal. There is nothing the staff there will not do to help make the trip a memorable one.”

Thanks to the staff at Disney World and the efforts of State of the Heart Hospice, Matt had some special considerations. State of the Heart’s wish granting program, Corynna’s Wish, paid for a scooter for Matt to use while he was at Disney World for his five day stay. Corynna’s Wish was established by State of the Heart to help patients who have a wish, but because of financial or physical restraints are unable to accomplish the wish.

“We knew that the trip meant a great deal to Matt and his family,” stated Corynna’s Wish coordinator Larry Kinneer. “It was important to us to see that this trip was special for him and his family. We were glad Corynna’s Wish could help out.”

Of the courtesy scooter paid for by Corynna’s wish, Matt said, “Without it, I would have been unable to leave the room and enjoy all that Disney World has to offer.” State of the Heart also worked to make sure he had medical supplies while he was gone and connected with another hospice in Florida to make sure he would have care if needed in Florida. Through conversations with Disney officials, State of the Heart helped Matt and his family gain “VIP treatment.” They got a special gift basket delivered to their room and were given special VIP seating each evening at the fireworks at the vacation spot. “We were so close, we felt like we could reach out and touch the fireworks,” said Linda.

A Disney spokesman said, “We try to do all we can to make the magic happen for our guests, and to do something special for people like Matt and his family.”

The assistance offered to Matt in getting the scooter is the second wish accomplished by Corynna’s Wish. Last winter, an Indiana couple traveled to Florida. The hospice patient wanted to take his fiancĂ© to see the sun set and rise on the ocean. Corynna’s Wish helped fund that trip. The program was established in honor of and in memory of Coryanna Strawser, a hospice patient who died of Mitochondrial Disease. The 16-year-old believed strongly in “paying it forward.” She served as an inspiration in establishing the wish program which is for State of the Heart patients.

Having State of the Heart Hospice care has helped the family greatly, Linda said. In addition to weekly visits from hospice caregivers, the nonprofit agency also arranged for a hospital bed in the couple’s living room where he can interact with guests and visitors. He remains in his home where he is most comfortable. Asked what words best described his Disney World trip, Matt said, “Two words come to mind: Unforgettable and a time spent with love.”

State of the Heart Hospice cares for patients and families in eastern Indiana and western Ohio who are confronting a life limiting illness. For more information about Corynna’s Wish or any of the services offered by the agency, visit the web site at

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