Master Chief

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Visit to IWK Children's Hospital.

Posted on July 12, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Matthieu Lacombe is a young Halo fan who was diagnosed several years ago with “rabdomeosarcomsa” a type of cancer that grows on muscle tissues. Over the years he has had several tumours removed, most notably large ones from one of his ears and another “football sized” one from a kidney.

Early in 2011 the Halo costuming community, coordinated at their internet home site “ http://www.405th.com ”, decided to build a full scale costume of Matthieu's on-line Halo character. As the project is drawing to a conclusion in early April, Matthieu was admitted to the Isaac Walton Killam Children's Hospital in Halifax, Canada. The prognosis is not good.

I happen to live about a ½ hour drive from the hospital. I was able to get his mother's contact information through the 405th.com. I e-mailed her and asked if she would allow me the privledge of visiting Matthieu before he goes. She got back to me saying I was very welcome to come and asked if I could do it that night. I forwarded her my phone number and we had a talk on the phone. It became apparent that I would need to do this quickly. She cleared it through the hospital administration who authorized security to let me in after regular “open” visiting hours.

The hospital is about a 1/2 hour drive from my home. When talking to Mat's Mom, I had intended to get into costume at home and have my wife drive me over in her car. However, my daughter's car is broken down and my wife had let her use her car to go to work. My wife can't drive my car because it has a manual transmission. So, I quickly showered, dressed in my undersuit and put some warmer clothes over that as the evening temperature was dipping near the freezing mark. Then I put all the costume stuff into my car and my wife and I headed off.

On arrival at the hospital, my wife quickly checked with security to make sure everything was on track, they were extremely friendly and supportive. I parked the car in the hospital's parking tower and unloaded the costume into an empty parking spot next to where I had parked. My wife helped me get suited up, and we almost caused at least 3 accidents in the tower as people slowed to try and determine what I was doing! I was also pretty chilled by the end.

On the walk between the tower and the hospital, two teenaged boys chased us yelling “Master Chief! Master Chief! That's so awesome!”

Security led us through the hospital to Mats room. In the hallway, we met his Mom, Aunt and Grandmother. I cannot describe how wonderful these people are in this time of personal crisis. They were positively gleeful that Mat was going to meet the “Master Chief” and get some idea of how his costume might look.

We waited quite a while in the hallway because Mat was involved in some personal treatments that couldn't be interrupted. Many of the hospital staff came along and we had an impromptu photo sessions with Mat's family and the doctors, nurses and other staff.

When I was able to get in to see Mat, it was a moment I won't forget. I played the “Master Chief” and demanded at the door that the staff let me in to see “My wounded Spartan”. For the next ½ hour or so I don't really remember what we talked about, but we smiled and laughed and there were many pictures taken.

There is a white board in his room and he's had written on it "Spartans Never Die". I signed the Master Chief's name on it.

I gave him a Halo Reach figure and told him the guys at the 405th are working hard on his costume and are sending the figure to represent the team's dedication to finishing the final product.

We talked a lot about his costume. The specific details of it and I described some of the techniques being used to make it.

He has a tatoo that says “Spartans Never Die”, I had pictures taken with that.

Eventually it was apparent that his exhaustion was catching up with him and I decided I should go. There were hugs and smiles all around and security came and collected me and they gave me a free parking voucher. They also showed us how to get to the parking tower without having to go outside.

I had to get unsuited in the parking garage and again almost caused a couple of accidents. I didn't pack it up particularly neatly either as I was getting cold quickly after being a bit too warm in the hospital. My wife made me stop on the way home and she picked up my favourite junk food treat.

An awesome evening. Visiting Matthieu was among the most emotional evenings in my life. The positive energy radiating from him and his family is indescribable. All the time and expense, cut and burned fingers, restarts and rebuilds, and sometimes just plain frustraion with creating this costume was worth that ½ hour.

There is an annual Sci-Fi and Fantasy convention in town in the fall called Hal-Con and his Mom and I plan on 'trooping' at the event. If Mat is unable, she will wear the costume the folks at 405th.com are building for him.

Post Script: Matthieu passed away the day after I visited him. Rest in Peace Spartan, you were an inspiration.

 

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27 Comments

Reply mofioso
3:50 PM on August 11, 2011 
that was a very touching thing you did i respect you beyond belief
Reply Master Chief
7:05 PM on August 11, 2011 
Thank you. It was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had.
Reply xXBrad209Xx
10:26 PM on August 16, 2011 
so sad it made me cry ;(
Reply Master Chief
8:15 PM on August 17, 2011 
Thanks for stopping by and reading about my brief encounter with Matthieu, he was an inspiration.

xXBrad209Xx says...
so sad it made me cry ;(
Reply Stiilus
6:03 AM on August 24, 2011 
rip Matthieu... oly oly oxen free...
Reply amedcalf
6:16 AM on September 26, 2011 
Words cannot describe how I feel after reading that, that was really a touching story, You have my full respect for what you have done and I hope that other people see what can be done without thought. If only more people were like you. 405th Spartan out.
RIP Matthieu.
Reply Bart
7:57 PM on September 30, 2011 
You are hero, respect man.
Reply Master Chief
3:00 PM on October 1, 2011 
adedcalf and Bart, thank you for dropping by and your kind words about my encounter with Mathieu. There is a SF/Fantasy/Costume/Gaming convention coming up in the city where the hospital Mathieu was treated is located. The organizers are holding a charity auction and are hoping to be able to make a donation in Mathieu's memory. As details become available, they'll be posted on the conventions' web site: http://hal-con.com/
Reply Travers Milo
10:34 PM on October 17, 2011 
I am only one of the people who help make Hal-Con work, but people like Matthieu, his family, and Art Forward are who we do it for. Anytime I ever again think there's more to plan and do for Hal-Con than I can manage or help with I will remember this Spartan. It is such a shame he has now passed but how special it was that he was given these wonderful memories first ... A half hour that lasted a lifetime. Halo HIGH SCORE to you, Matthieu.
Reply Josee
8:43 PM on October 19, 2011 
Hello Art,
Can't wait to see you and your wife November 12-13 for the Hal-Con.
Hope I receive Math's armor , that I can bring it with me :)
It's an honor to be a part of that week-end and I'm sure Math would be proud of his mom :)
See you their
Love
Survivor's mom
Josee
Reply Master Chief
9:20 PM on October 20, 2011 
Hi Josee!

Very glad and honoured that you will make it down to Hal-Con. Cindy and I are looking forward to a great weekend and a successful auction to remember Mathieu. I am donating a helmet based on the one worn by the hero of the Halo: Reach game to it.

I'll spend most of the weekend suited up as the Master Chief. Make sure you find us, I'm sure Cindy will be looking forward to some "sane" company after following her geeky husband around :)

Best always!
Reply annabellector
10:49 PM on February 1, 2012 
Makes me proud that there are people like you in this world. The joy and comfort you brought this family and boy makes me tear up (I'm a girl- and a mommy, so I'm allowed).

What an amazing man you are to give some of your time to one who needed it.

Thank you for sharing the touching story and pictures.
-a
Reply Master Chief
4:55 PM on February 11, 2012 
Thank you annabellector, this is the story that keeps coming back to life. In November of 2011 I donated a hand-made helmet of a Halo character to a charity auction in Mathieu's name, it raised over $1100. He continues to be an inspiration.
Reply Thor
10:31 AM on February 21, 2012 
This is so sad words cannot describe it.
And it's also so great, so full of everything's good in life that I have to say: thank you Master Chief for all you did.
I lost my mom few years ago and one of my best friends last year, I cried reading this story.
But it has also a beauty few can truly understand.
It has to be an inspiration for anyone to try to do something good for who suffers.
Rest in peace young Spartan, I will carry on in my heart the story of Matthieu.
And thank you Master Chief, I wish there were more people like you, to make this world a better place to live.
Reply Master Chief
10:11 PM on February 29, 2012 
Thank you Thor.
I was a small part of Mathieu's story, but I am glad that by telling my part, I am spreading Mat's inspiration.
Reply Timelady
4:05 PM on May 8, 2012 
I found this from your sig on the 405th. Not ashamed to say I cried after reading it. Words fail me at how amazing your actions were.
Reply Ian
12:49 AM on October 13, 2012 
Not many things bring a tear to my eye. What you did alone shows their is hope still left in this world. You should be damn proud of what you did I have the utmost respect for you. What you did is beyond words. Thank you
Ian
Reply cameron
1:23 AM on October 13, 2012 
That was the nicest thing i have ever read, i tried not to cry, too late :'''"D
Reply Pat
1:42 AM on October 13, 2012 
R.I.P. Spartan We have lost a brave soldier.

Very commendable thing you did.
Reply Raj
1:55 AM on October 13, 2012 
You sir are a hero among men! My hats off to you!

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