As a student at Seton Hall Prep, Matthew Kimble has a lot to think about: school, family, contributing to his community, and of course, the dreaded College application process. He still carries thoughts of what would life be like if he had his twin brother, Stephen, by his side.
Tragically, the brothers were born premature and Stephen, unfortunately, passed away as a baby. Miraculously, Matthew matured and flourished into a healthy, smart and courageous young man even though doctor’s warnings about possibly delayed development never came to fruition.
Matthew chatted with Walk In Sunshine about our organization, why it’s important to him, and how we can help support people who deal with child loss.
Walk In Sunshine: What drew you to WIS, and why is it an essential part of our community?
For me, being able to engage with an organization that helps families financially, logistically and emotionally deal with premature loss is something that I have wanted to do. I was born at 26 weeks of the second trimester and lost a twin brother.
Having the opportunity to connect with a group of people that are helping families like mine is truly wonderful.
WIS: Some people don’t truly realize how common this happens.
As much as 12 percent of all pregnancies are premature births. In addition, 15 million people worldwide deal with one or more children being born prematurely. Roughly 1 in 10 babies is born prematurely. Premature birth defects are the leading cause of deaths of children under 5 years old.
WIS: If you want to share; how did loss affect your family? Do you do anything to remember your brother on a particular day?
Personally, I don’t remember much about my brother or my birth. I was so young. However, I am happy to share my story. I was born at 26 weeks and weighed 1 pound. At one point, I actually dropped to 0.8 pounds.
I was one of two, I had a fraternal twin named Stephen. Both of us a month after being born caught an infection and unfortunately, the infection traveled to Stephens' brain and he passed. The doctors told my parents I was going to be paralyzed and have to grow up with a multitude of health complication. Luckily, I developed fine with no complications. As far as my family, I always remember hearing stories of the mass pain my parents felt after losing a child. Loss has definitely affected my family in the sense that it gives us all a greater appreciation for life.
WIS: How do you think we should handle infant loss as a society?
I think the biggest thing we can do as a society is making sure we have the financial, emotional, and logistical areas covered for infant loss. It is a problem in the world, and it won’t 100% go away, so I think to be able to give people the support they need to handle such a tragedy is a great way that we can help as a society.
WIS: What do you think are some long term goals for WIS?
One of the long term goals for WIS most definitely is to become the infant loss organization for Northern New Jersey. With such a big problem and so many people in need, I think WIS over time really will grow to become a top organization in the field of infant mortality.