Preschoolers are drawn to play. Summertime sprinkler fun, snow-bound sledding and endless forms of indoor, outdoor horseplay are part of a youngster’s childhood fabric.
But for Matthew Dolan, carefree play was absent from much of his early years.
As a toddler and young boy, Matthew didn’t feel well and was much smaller than his active peers. He often experienced great pain—to the point of tears—when lying down, had numerous urinary tract infections (UTIs), ear infections and bouts of strep throat.
“I was sick all the time and stayed home from school frequently,” says Matthew, now 19. “I was tiny and not as active as other kids my age. They were larger, faster and more skilled at games we played.”
Matthew’s mother, Martha, knew her son was fighting a much larger medical issue. But Matthew’s pediatrician could not pinpoint the source of the problem.
“I felt very helpless since I knew something was wrong but didn’t know what was causing his pain,” says Martha.