MATISSE’S WISH A Life-Changing Trip He looks like a heathy teenage boy but in fact, 15-year-old Matisse has a severe heart condition, which keeps him from playing sports or simply running around in the schoolyard. Being different and set apart from other kids his age has sometimes been hard to bear. “Being a sick child”, he says, “also means being afraid of seeing my world suddenly falling apart, of seeing people’s perception change unexpectedly... and the fear of losing my place.” Earlier this year Matisse was granted his wish of a family trip to an exotic location. In Bali, they explored breathtaking landscapes, toured majestic temples and tasted local delicacies. And Matisse was able to experience it all. “Each new thing seemed more beautiful than the last,” he says now. “I began to realize that I was actually changing and starting to acquire a new outlook on life.” His wish trip changed the way Matisse perceives the world – and himself. “I realized that people see me as something other than a sick child and that I have a lot of opportunities despite my illness. I’ll always be sick, but I’m no longer ashamed of saying it.” “I began to realize that I was actually changing and starting to acquire a new outlook on life.” - Matisse, wish child 21