Our Story
March For Matthew isn’t just about raising money for such a great organization,  but it’s also about encouraging people to understand and gain awareness of their family history.   First-degree relatives (parents, siblings, children) of a person who has, or has had, an aortic aneurysm and/or dissection can have a higher chance to develop an aneurysm. Our goal as an event is to help prevent premature deaths due to aortic disease by creating more public awareness of this disease.  
    Hello, My name is Tiffany (Tillinger) Larson. On March 11th, 1992, I was blessed at the age of 7 with the world's most cutest baby brother any big sister could ever ask for. A handsome little blessing that my parents named, Matthew Scott Tillinger. My life was forever changed...
    I'll give you a brief description of just a few words that come to mind when anyone says, Matthew Tillinger. Funny, Caring, Selfless, Loving, A Brother To Many, Always Smiling, Positive, Inspiration, Free Spirit, Genuine, Jokester, and Of Course...Handsome. My brother has touched a tremendous amount of lives for the better. It is evident that when I speak for the both of us- we can thank our amaziing parents for that gift that was given to us. Although Matthew lived in NY, he was my best friend, the only other person other than my husband and best friend Nikkiee that "got" me without even speaking a word. Just a sense of feeling...he was definitely not JUST my blood brother, but my soul brother too. 
    On May 6th, God decided to take my brother back to Heaven. My brother woke up early in the morning to the sounds of my father having a seizure in their bathroom. Matthew immediately called for an ambulance for my Dad while having chest and back pains of his own on a "side note". Matthew followed the ambulance to the hospital in my father's truck. Once my dad was checked in the ER, my brother decided to check himself into the ER as the pains were becoming worse. The hospital ended up doing  x-rays and were shown that Matthew may need an emergency surgery on his aorta that that hospital could not perform. He was rushed to a nearby hospital that specializes in heart surgeries. He arrived to the second hospital before noon.
    I had gotten the phone call that he may need surgery. I was training at the gym, my husband was training a client- we dropped everything and drove 2.5 hours to New York where he was. When I saw my brother, he was sleeping all curled up on the hospital bed. I rubbed his arm and smiled at him as he slowly opened his eyes and said, "Hey Tiffy" :)…I gave him a BIG hug and kiss and was rubbing his head as he told me about his morning how he woke up to Dad having a seizure on the bathroom floor and he called the ambulance originally for my Dad- then checked himself in the ER as well when his pain was becoming unbearable. While telling me about his morning, I could see he was in the worst pain I have ever seen him in. It hurt to see. He was showing me where it hurt right in the middle sternum at the chest down to his stomach. He had his Iphone right on the bed with him and we of course were listening to music to help "soothe" him- music means so much to our family. We were listening to one of our favorite songs that we always sing out loud together, "Under The Bridge" by Red Hot Chili Peppers. As much pain as he was in, he still managed to sing it with me, especially on our favorite parts…."N I don't ever wanna Feeeeeeeeeeel, like I did that day"… I was rubbing where he said hurt and put cold towels on his forehead and told him to "relax" it'll be okay- pretend you're in the spa and I said, "shhhhh…" to kind of calm him a little.
    It was a few hours of just lying there and I asked Matthew if he minded if I went downstairs really quick to grab a bite to eat, I didn't really want to go- but he said go eat Tiff. So I said okay I will be really quick and I said I love you to him…he said I love you too…when we came back up, the doctor's wouldn't let us in his room and said they were "getting him ready for an MRI" which was a lie…we were sent to the waiting room where my father and grandfather were just waiting. We waited for about 30 minutes…I saw a tall man with large eyes with dark bags under them walking into the waiting room- for some strange and random reason, I ran out of the room…I started freaking out…I wasn't sure why. Then in the reflection of the glass through the hallway next to the waiting room I heard screaming and yelling and I looked…it was MY family…my Dad, my grandfather, my husband…I still hear the devastating words right now…I won't go into that much detail, but with that being said…he was gone. I lost my brother…my life seemed completely shattered and over. There were no answers, no explanation...they didn't know why or how it happened. They were UNAWARE and lacked a tremendous amount of urgency as my brother should have been top priority while he waited ALL day to have an emergancy surgery.  Our hearts were ripped right out of our body and thrown in the dirt to feed the rats. I felt helpless, lost, useless, heart broken, I felt the worst feeling anyone in this world could possibly even fathom. I lost my soul mate, my day-one best friend, MY other ME, MY baby brother… his aorta ruptured and it was too late to be fixed. The waiting time was horrendous as it happened at 6:05pm. He waited too long- THEY messed up. Again, my life was forver changed...
    With this being said, I believe that God does have a plan. He has a plan for each and every one of us. Something more amazing than we can ever imagine. And as he is protecting and loving my brother in Heaven- he is doing the same with me here. I have been dreaming of organizing an event in great honor of my precious brother, Matthew. It wasn't until NOW that I have become strong enough to move forward and make this possible. The March For Matthew 3.1/1 is a 5K (3.1 mile) and a 1 Mile Walk/Run that I will be organizing in our home town, Plainfield, CT where both Matthew and I were raised. I've chosen to create a 5K and a 1 mile combined so that friends, family, and supporters of all levels of fitness can join, participate, and attend. Also, a 5K is actually a 3.1 mile walk/run. The 3.1 mile and the 1 mile to me, symbolize Matthew's birthdate (the month and the day) 3.1 1. To me, this symbolizes life. Something that I am passionate about spreading the word through raising awareness to Aortic Health and learning about the steps you can take to learn, prevent, and understand.
    This event isn’t just about raising money for such a great organization,  but it’s also about encouraging people to understand and gain awareness of their family history.   First-degree relatives (parents, siblings, children) of a person who has, or has had, an aortic aneurysm and/or dissection can have a higher chance to develop an aneurysm. Our goal as an event is to help prevent premature deaths due to aortic disease by creating more public awareness of this disease.  
    
     
To make Donations, local businesses looking to donate in any way, interested volunteers, and/or looking to contribute towards "The March For Matthew 5K" in any way. Please feel free to contact:
 
 
Any and all of your support is greatly appreciated from our hearts to yours.