Matthew David Webster

June 11, 1984 – July 8, 2000

We lost our beautiful son, Matthew to this deadly disease on July 8th, 2000, but to us, it seems just like it was yesterday.  It left our whole family in shock. Matthew was one of six siblings; his brothers Chris, Jeff, Rich, Mike and sister Racheal.  He also left to mourn 9 uncles, 8 aunts, 29 cousins, grandparents and of course us, his Mom and Dad.Matthew had just finished grade 10 and had acquired his learner’s license 10 days prior to getting sick.  He was so excited and we all were looking forward to a summer on our ranch.Wednesday July 5th, was a normal day.  We rode our horses as we were preparing to go to a horse event called Team Cattle Penning, a sport that we participate in as a family.  It is a good sport for us because it allows us to work together as a team and ties in with our lifestyle, which is raising Quarter Horses and running a cow/calf operation.

Thursday July 6th, Matthew complained he wasn’t feeling so well and decided to go to bed after having a little supper.  Throughout the night, Matthew had thrown up a few times but only woke his brother, Chris to get him some Tylenol.  His Dad upon rising went to check on him and alarmed at his condition, came and got me.  Matt had a temperature of 104 and I noticed a rash starting.  I assumed it was probably a heat rash from throwing up and fever, however, an hour later the rash was more noticeable.  I phoned the hospital and was advised to take him to the doctor which was a 25 mile drive into town but seemed so much longer.    

On arriving at the doctors, we had to wait.  Finally, they told us to go straight to the hospital.  The doctor that saw Matt at the hospital said he had a blood infection and required more care than they could provide due to our Intensive Care Unit closed.  Plans were then made for Matthew to be transferred to Prince George, a larger city North of Quesnel, 1 ½ hours away.

By the time we got to Prince George where the doctors confirmed Matthew had a meningococcal infection, three hours had lapsed and he had started to fail badly.  Prince George Hospital made arrangements for Matthew to now be transferred to the B. C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.   I flew down with Matthew on the plane which was another 8 more hours by the time we got there.  Doug, my husband, drove back to Quesnel to be with our other children.  On arriving at the B.C. Children’s Hospital, my biological Dad, his wife and my half sister were there to greet me.   Thank goodness!

The doctors at B.C Children’s hospital tried very hard to keep Matthew alive by firstly hooking him up to Kidney dialyses to try and clean his blood but he continued to fail.  I called Matthew’s Dad and he made arrangements to fly down to Vancouver.  Quite a few of my aunts, uncles and cousins that live in the Vancouver area were there for me for support.  I will never be able to thank them enough.     

July 7th, they hooked Matthew up to a life support machine that would run his lungs, heart and kidneys to try and give his body more strength to fight. The morning of July 8th they informed us his brain was gone.  The decision to take him off of life support was made and now we have to say good bye. This was the hardest task that I hope I ever have to go through again as a mom.

My cousin, Graham and my twin brother Michael, drove Doug and I home.  It was the longest 7 hours of my life. Arriving home, my house was so full of people, mainly family, you could not move.  Everyone was crying.  We made plans for the funeral. Matthew´s Grandpa, who is an Elder, gave a beautiful talk.   Chris related a special fishing experience they shared with a touch of humor.  Matthew´s friends and cousins also related storied and poems.  They say over 600 attended.  It was standing room only with people still outside.  The community and the high school put on the tea at Matthew´s school.  I found it very overwhelming.  The community, in which we live, also pulled together and provided food for my family and all our company for over 3 weeks.  They were all so kind.

Matthew had a smile that would melt your heart; anyone who met him fell in love.  He had such a magnetic personality, one that will never be forgotten.

My dedication to my son is to have all children and young people protected from this deadly disease that is preventable by a vaccine and to make awareness of this infection that took us by surprise.

Matt, you are so missed and loved.

Mom, Dad, Chris, Jeff, Rich, Mike and Racheal


Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada – Mathew Webster / Sherry Webster

Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada – Sherry Webster

Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada – Sherry Webster, PSA