Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My College Application Essay
Originally published May 4, 2015
by Matthew Wright
My story is about a boy named Henry and how he has been such an important part of my life.  Henry is not your ordinary 6 year old boy.  He was born deaf and is gradually losing his sight as a result of a rare genetic condition known as Usher Syndrome.  Though given this grim diagnosis, he does not let this disability stop him from fully engaging in a normal life.  As his neighbor for 6 years I have enjoyed playing basketball, nerf guns and video games with him.  It is a challenge for Henry to access the world.  He has inspired me with his strength and it is my personal goal to have his courage and determination as I navigate life.
Henry calls me his best friend, but it is more than that because I love him like a little brother.  To show Henry how much I cared about him I became invested in raising awareness of Usher syndrome.  After I was named Captain of my varsity football team I approached my coach and teammates with a unique service opportunity.  The Camden Catholic High School Football Team “reeked for a week”.  We wore custom designed t-shirts of Henry as a superhero which was created by a Marvel Comics illustrator.
My high school football team, Camden Catholic and Henry. We wore our Reek Week shirts for a week to raise awareness of Usher Syndrome.
We wore the Help Henry See and Hear shirts for an entire week without washing them.  We wore these shirts everywhere including football practice, school, and out in public, taking them off only to sleep.  Our intention was to make a stink about Usher Syndrome and we did!  It was more successful than I imagined.  Our awareness campaign garnered the support of the entire student body as well as the community.
Me, Jack and Henry
We received quite a bit of media attention from the Philadelphia news stations (11/7/14 ABC News and 11/8/14 NBC High School Football Blitz).  I was proud to share with the news interviewers my special relationship with Henry.I I have been close to Henry since his birth and he has changed my life for the better.  He has given me an appreciation for the simple things in life that can be such a challenge for Henry.  I look at Henry with awe and admiration.  It is an honor to raise awareness for Usher Syndrome that has affected Henry, my neighbor, my little brother, and my best friend.

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