Utah residents Ernest and Anneke Robinson welcomed the birth of their son, Matthew Stanford Robinson, over 28 years ago on September 23rd.
Matthew was born with severe disabilities due to brain damage from a lack of oxygen. He was blind and paralyzed from the neck down. Doctors said he would only live for a few hours, but with his family’s strength and support, Matthew lived to be 10-and-a-half years old.
Even though he could only speak a few words, Matthew inspired his family and entire community.
On Sunday, February 21, 1999, Matthew passed away in his sleep.
The church that held his funeral was filled with mourners. Matthew’s obituary read, “and then it shall come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.”
Ernest thought that his son’s gravestone should be something beautiful and unique, something that would depict Matthew in his truest form.
He wanted Matthew’s grave to signify hope rather than grief.
A year after his passing, Ernest decided to build a tombstone in memory of his son at the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
The base of the grave has a simple and traditional inscription, but the top is a breathtaking sculpture of a boy rising from his wheelchair and reaching up to the sky.
Ernest depicted Matthew as “free of his earthly burdens.”
His statue has been visited by millions of people from all over the world.
Shortly after realizing the grave’s symbolism for many people, Ernest and Anneke started a charity, Ability Found.
Ability Found helps provide equipment for disabled people who have no other means of getting it.
Ernest and Anneke hope to continue their charity work for as long as they can.
You can find out more about Ability Found at their website.