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Meet Matthew

17-Year-Old Burn Survivor

17-year-old Matthew Monsegur is a typical high school senior. He enjoys spending time with his friends, staying active and golfing on the weekends. In March 2022, Matthew’s life changed forever. He was riding in the front passenger seat of his friend’s car, on their way to another friend’s house. Suddenly, an unlit firework that was in the car accidentally went off, creating a spark that spread throughout the vehicle. The explosion sent the car into a light pole, and the vehicle was quickly engulfed in flames.

Matthew struggled to remove his seat belt and quickly pushed his way out through the passenger door. Thankfully, all four of the boys traveling in the car were able to escape. However, Matthew sustained significant burns to his legs and right hand.

Moments later, as police and ambulances arrived on the scene Matthew was transported to the Arizona Burn Center – Valleywise Health. The paramedic who cared for Matthew was astonished by his composure through the entire traumatic event and recalled him saying to her, “I won’t give up. I’m a fighter.”

When he arrived at the Arizona Burn Center, Matthew was placed in a medically induced coma, undergoing emergency surgery. He remained in a coma for more than six weeks as he underwent additional procedures. The clinical team at the Arizona Burn Center – Valleywise Health determined Matthew had sustained burns over 40% of his body.

During his time in the Arizona Burn Center, Matthew lost 25 pounds and received nourishment through a feeding tube. Following the six weeks Matthew was in the medically induced coma, he spent another week healing in the Arizona Burn Center before being released to an outpatient facility, and later to return home to his family. Matthew’s recovery included physical therapy appointments three times a week throughout the summer to regain his strength and mobility.

Less than one year after his accident, Matthew returned to school in the fall of 2022, going to classes, hanging out with friends and competing on his High School’s golf and football team.

Matthew found healing and recovery through golf and football, playing the sport he loves. “My recovery process is why I’m standing here today,” says Matthew. “I owe everything to my parents and my family who pushed me through.”

“It amazes me how Matthew has maintained a positive attitude through all that has happened to him over the last year,” says his mom, Trish Wickman-Monsegur. “He handles every challenge with grace, strength and courage. I am so proud of him and where he stands today.”

In December 2023, he joined two other burn survivors, Arizona Cardinals players Anotion Hamilton and 11-year-old Leah Mazon, at Frye Elementary School in Chandler to spread awareness about fire safety and burn prevention.

Matthew said sharing his story with other survivors, recent patients and anyone who asks gives him a sense of purpose. “I don’t get tired of sharing my story. It showed me how strong I am and talking about it with others lets me help them.”

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