Matthew Stone from Shaw in West Swindon, who was not expected to survive his first week, celebrated his 21st birthday on 14 January with a trip around Swindon in the back of bright yellow chauffeured Hummer with his family and friends followed by a meal at the Hungry Horse.
Matthew suffers from the extremely rare metabolic disease citrullinaemia which means all the protein he eats quickly turns to ammonia and poisons his system. Meat, eggs, fish, cheese in quantify are all excluded from his diet. Matthew has to eat a strict controlled amount of protein little and often, he has to take 11 lots of drugs daily to counteract the negative impact on his body. His diet consists mainly of Terry’s Chocolate Orange, chips and onion rings.
Mum Carolyn said Matthew’s condition was discovered three days after he was born and was rushed from Swindon to the Bristol Royal Hospital for Sick Children. He wasn’t expected to survive the night.
“We’ve never been given a life expectancy for Matthew because the disease he has is so rare,” said Carolyn. "We live from one day to the next, so it is wonderful to be able to celebrate his twenty-first. It’s been very hard at time, he can become ill very quickly. In 2005 Matthew’s condition went bad and he spent a long time in intensive care at Great Ormond Street Hospital. We nearly lost him."
Carolyn said Matthew’s twenty-first year was a good time to celebrate. "He went to a school where they didn’t have a prom, and so he never had an excuse to have a special car. But he was impressed when his sister Natalie-Jayne went off in one for her prom, so I thought this would be something for him to remember.”
Carolyn added that Matthew had no idea that something unusual was being organised for his special day. "It was very hard to keep the secret from him and it lovely to see his face light up when he saw the Hummer"
Matthew, who works in the warehouse at marketing, training and recruitment firm Infinity group, expected to be travelling to his birthday meal in a taxi. "The Hummer is a big surprise, I wasn’t expecting it at all. I want one."
Ready for a trip around Swindon, above, from left, Matthew Stone, sister Natalie-Jayne, carer Ray Raggett, friends Daniel Akers, Matt Carter, Vicky Webb. Below, Matthew and his sister Natalie-Jayne