To show the transformational power of a wish for a child with a critical illness, visual artist Jody Steel transformed Make-A-Wish kid Matthew (age 10) into a monkey on camera. The video released on Make A Wish’s socials shows his and his Mum and brothers’ reaction to seeing him as his favourite animal. It also includes a candid conversation with Matthew about his illness, the power of his wish and the importance of staying positive when faced with incredible adversity.
Wish kid Matthew underwent surgery to remove brain tumours at age six and still deals with multiple
health issues today. Despite his challenges, Matthew’s mother is constantly baffled and inspired by
how positive her son remains each day. She cites their wish experience as a turning point in
Matthew’s recovery – something Make-A-Wish hears often from wish families.
Matthew has always been an animal lover, but he especially loves monkeys. He first asked Make-A-
Wish if he could have a pet monkey. His Mum kindly declined the wish, letting Matthew know that monkeys are illegal to keep as pets in California and that they are very tough to take care of.
Instead, Matthew got his wish to see monkeys at the Animal Kingdom at Disney World. An experience he fondly remembers during an incredibly challenging time in his health journey. He is still obsessed with monkeys today and owns over 500 stuffed monkeys. He was thrilled to learn that LA-based body artist Jody Steel was going to transform him into a monkey – he told his Mum, “Imma finally be a monkey!”
Many people do not know that Make-A-Wish is facing a funding gap, Jody is urging her fans
to donate to Make-A-Wish to help grant life-changing wishes for more wish kids via a button on her Facebook.
You can also find out more about the amazing work Make A Wish does and donate via the charities website.
Let us know what you think of Matthew’s transformation at @CelebMix!