From the age of 9, Mattie was a frequent guest on DC area radio station Mix 107.3 and The Jack Diamond Morning Show. Mattie shared his poetry through this show even before he was a published author, then chatted about book signings and visits with celebrities after Mattie was on the Oprah Show and become widely known and respected bestselling author and speaker. In 2003, Jack invited his “Loyal Listeners” to support Mattie in setting up his first website so that he could spread a message of hope and peace though a national and international platform. Below are excerpts from what Mattie posted on that original website.
From Mattie’s Original Website, 2003
Mattie likes to speak about peace efforts and global harmony. He has spoken to school children and business leaders, medical personnel and church groups, fire fighters and Harley Davidson riders, all across America. Mattie loves talking with anyone who loves to listen, and then ask questions and engage in conversation! One of his favorite speeches was when he got to introduce his hero and role model for peacemaking, Former President Jimmy Carter, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
Mattie has written thousands of poems, essays, short stories, short chapter books, and speeches. Five of his volumes of Heartsongs poetry books have been published; all five have been NY Times Bestsellers. He is working on a final collection of poetry. Mattie is also working on a book of essays and interviews about peace for our world. Former President Jimmy Carter is supporting Mattie in this endeavor.
Mattie has also shared his messages of hope and peace on many television programs. He has been on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Primetime, The Today Show, CNN News and many other programs many times. Every year, he also helps with the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon. In 2002, he drove cross country with his mom, Jeni, and friends, Sandy Newcomb and Chris Dobbins, to be in Los Angeles for the National Telethon. He loved getting to see his country coast to coast from the van. Along the way, he gave a number of speeches and enjoyed meeting many new people at several book signings.
In 2003, Mattie was unable to travel because of a decline in his health. Instead, he enjoyed co-hosting all 21 hours of the local Baltimore, MD station telethon with local MDA family and friends.
Mattie feels very lucky to have met many wonderful people during his journey through life. He has become close friends with lots of great people, including Jimmy Carter, Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, Christopher Cross, Chris Cuomo, Lance Bass, and Billy Gilman. During 2003, Mattie and Billy Gilman collaborated on a CD project, Music Through Heartsongs, which debuted in the Top 15 albums the Country Music charts. On the CD, Billy sings 12 of Mattie’s poems that have been put to various styles of music, including Celtic, soft rock, Hawaiian, country, jazz, and pop-Christian style. Mattie can be heard speaking lines of his verse on several tracks. One of Mattie’s favorite tracks, I AM/Shades of Life, was made into a music video, in which Mattie has a cameo.
Mattie also feels very blessed just to be alive at age 13. Children born with his disease do not usually live very long. Mattie knows that each day is a gift, and he makes the most of it. He says he gets his strength from God and his mom, and also from the people that become part of his circle of life. “People tell me I inspire them. And that inspires me. It’s a beautiful circle, and we all go around together, with and for each other. What a gift,” says Mattie.