Matt Kristensen 1986-2002
Matt was four years old when he was diagnosed with a rare medical condition call Mucopolysacchridosis (MPS). This disease affects many systems in a body, and the Kristiansen’s were told that Matt would live only 8-11 years.
Matt’s life was filled with love and joy. Everyone that met him loved him. They saw this amazingly charismatic personality that shared his smile and unconditional love. Matt truly loved and cared about everyone he met.
Matt’s disease affected his entire body, from his muscular and skeletal systems, to his respiratory and circulatory systems. His life was full of pain that he hid from everyone except his family. He was always on the go and refused to miss school. He was a master at covering up his pain with his smile and laugh. At home, out of public view, Matt could let go and share how he felt. His family and close friends all too familiar with the hospital stays and the surgeries.
Matt lived a fun-filled life with no regrets. He and his family made many great memories up to his final days. Talks about Heaven, God, and going towards God’s light were beautiful. They talked about how in Heaven he would be able to ride, play hockey, straighten his fingers, and so on which brought great comfort to the family. Matt would add, “I’ll be able to read and write too.”
Matt passed away in 2002 at the age of 16.
Matt and his family were regulars at Utah Grizzlies (ECHL) Hockey Games. Matt became an unofficial number one fan and mascot. He was a regular in the locker room after home games. The players were not celebrities, they were his friends. The fans enjoyed seeing him and getting the high five or smile from him. The night they announced Matt had passed away, the arena went silent. Tears flowed from players and fans. One of Matt’s favorite players had been reassigned from the Dallas Stars to the Grizzlies. Knowing that Matt had passed, he mentioned in an interview he was excited to see his buddy, Matty K. That night at the end of the game, he picked up the puck and presented it to the Kristensen’s.
Matt Kristensen truly made an impact on everyone who met him.
In the fall of the year 2000, Mark and Roxann Kristensen—along with friends Steve and Sue Stauffer—came up with a plan to help other families living with situations similar the Kristensen family. By April of ’01 the idea of Angel’s Hands Foundation (AHF) had evolved, and the organization was created. AHF was planned to assist Utah families living with various forms of MPS. There were only ten MPS families in Utah at that time. The mission of AHF has since developed; “IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR INDIVIDULALS LIVING WITH RARE OR UNDIAGNOSED MEDICAL CONDITIONS.” Today there are over 600 families with more than 200 different rare medical conditions being support by AHF.