A boy with half a heart walks for others

By Lia

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- Matthew Chase can be described as charismatic, smart and a boy with a big heart, despite only having half of one.

Take one look at Matthew and you see nothing but a happy and normal kid. His story, however, is far from ordinary.

"He was our first born, so it's pretty much all we know. How he functions and how he lives...we formed our lives around him to make it easier for him to survive," his mom, Christine Chase said.

Matthew was born in 2000 with a condition known as hypo-plastic left heart syndrome, meaning he only has right side of his heart.

At five days old he had open heart surgery at MUSC Children's Hospital.

"I was being worked on for months. So I did get to go home for one Christmas but I had to go back," Matthew said.

He would go on to have two more surgeries, with his last one at age four.

"It's kind of fixed," he said.

While Matthew's heart is working fine now, there could be a time that his heart gives out.

Doctors have told the family, that at 18, that Matthew's heart may begin to slow down and by then he may need a heart transplant.

"He's one of those watch and see," his mom said.

In the meantime - Matthew continues to raise funds - and spend time helping others. He has visited the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at MUSC.

Matthew is a shining example that it takes a heart to save heart. In 2011, he represented MUSC and the South Carolina Children's Miracle Network--appearing on Kellogg's boxes.

"He is incredible. He cares about everybody and everything. He's just a great kid," Christine Chase said.

Matthew put all his heart into raising money for the American Heart Association.

"They just saved my life so I said you know what heck with it-I'm giving it back. I'm giving back to them."

He hasn't missed a beat with the heart walks in ten years.

"It makes me feel great that I get to see kids around my own age and younger and actually survive some of these things."

While Matthew may only have half a heart, in reality his heart is bigger than most.