Matt Schoals

matt-schoalsQ. Where did the nickname “Matt Man” come from?
I’m not exactly sure who gave Matt this nickname.  It came from my brother’s family just not sure if it was Dean or Ryan who started it.

Q. Matt also was nicknamed “Bacon” what is the meaning behind that? 
Matt got this name as a freshman in high school on the wrestling team.  One day he was doing pushups (and having a lot of trouble doing them) when a senior on the team announced to everyone that Matt looked a piece of bacon in a frying pan.  Well, it stuck and they all started calling him that. I asked if he was ok with the nickname and he said “Heck yeah mom!  They don’t give everyone a nickname, it’s a badge of honor!”

Q. Matt was involved with wrestling and football, how did organized sports impact his life? 
Sports were always important in his life.  You can’t be from this family without that being true.  When Matt was in season, he was very disciplined in all aspects of his life.  He once told me that sports taught him about hard work and teamwork.

Q. DeWitt is known for their excellent football program on and off the field. How did the football family come together in honor of Matt and to support him and your family? 
Matt was very lucky to be on a team with guys he had played with for over 6 years.  They all loved and truly cared for each other.  When Matt was diagnosed, all of the coaches from the Freshman, JV and Varsity teams were at the hospital within the first few days visiting him.  His teammates would come sit with him whenever he was in the hospital.  Someone was always doing something to raise funds to help us.  He was not able to be at one game because he was really sick.  Everyone on the team wore their bracelets, that were sold to raise money and as they walked by me they each said “for Matt”.  After he was diagnosed one of the first questions he had was if he would be able to play football again.  The doctors kept telling him that they didn’t know.  The last regular season game he got the ok from one of his doctors to play.  In the fourth quarter the coach called the team over and told them that if they made the next first down he would put Matt in.  The guys went into the huddle and simply said to each other “for Matt”.  They got the first down and all ran to greet Matt as he ran on the field to play.  Everyone was so excited even the crowd was on their feet cheering for him.

matt-ryanQ. Matt was Ryan’s inspiration for The Steadfast Foundation. When attending the first Catwalk for Charity, how did it feel to see everything and everyone come together to honor Matt?
This was an amazing experience for our family!  It started right from when we crossed the border from Canada into Buffalo.  I was asked where I was going.  I told them that we were going to Buffalo, NY to see my nephew and to go to his fundraiser.  The border guard asked me if I was the “mom”.  I wasn’t sure what he was asking.  He asked me the question again and then it hit me what he was asking. I said “the mom of Matt Man?”  He said yes and that he was really sorry for my loss.  The outpouring of love from the people of Buffalo was overwhelming.  I will forever be grateful to the Sabre nation for the love and compassion that they have shown for Matt, our family and Ryan!