'Reverse birthday party' held in memory of Cottonwood boy

Jun 13, 2015 8:32 PM by Charlene Cheng

For most people, it's not too big of a deal when birthdays come around every year, but when you've just received a successful heart transplant, you celebrate as often as you can.

"We have our birthday, and then we have another birthday which is our heart birthday, when we celebrate our new year with our new heart," 14-year-old Lizzie Johnson said.

"I think her heart birthday might be bigger than her actual birthday this year, because it's just a big event to be one year out, and it's different than a year ago how life was, so to celebrate each year is a success from the year before," added her mother, Lisa Ozur.

Add Matt Farley's Reverse Birthday Party to that list.

Matt passed away four years ago from cancer.

Every year since then, his parents have thrown a celebration in his honor, inviting local kids dealing with life-threatening illnesses.

"When Matt was in the hospital, people would bring gifts to him, he always wanted to share it with the kids on the floor, and that's kind of our inspiration for doing this, he loved to share," said his parents, Darrell and Gina,

28 families RSVP'ed to this year's carnival-themed shindig.

12-year-old Roque Matagulay is also a heart transplant recipient.

His family has something big to celebrate this year, his 11th heart birthday was yesterday.

"Don't ever take any day for granted. We're grateful for the air that comes in our lungs every morning. He had been through a lot with ventilators so even just appreciating each and every breath we have is amazing," said Roque's mother, Deena.


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