Matthew P. Fischerkeller was the lead guitarist for a local Pittsburgh rock and roll band, Running From Romance. He enjoyed the small things in life like hanging out with friends, watching himself on video and planning for his future. A young man who embraced his faith and country, he wanted to help fight the War on Terror and use his intelligence to earn a PhD to work with the government. A stack of college recruitment offers lay waiting for his reply when he died suddenly in his sleep due to cardiac arrest, brought on by an arrhythmia on April 14, 2005. Matthew was 16 years old.
Matthew was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW) at birth when a doctor detected a heart murmur. Children born with WPW have extra electrical pathways in the heart that may lead to fatal heart rhythm abnormalities (arrhythmias) in a very small proportion of cases. Matthew was one of the few patients who exhibited no symptoms of the condition and was able to live a normal life without any complications. Since he was symptom-free, Matthews doctors agreed that keeping watch and not intervening would be the correct path for him. Matthew’s other choice would have been to have surgery, accepting the risk of developing a life threatening arrhythmia from scar tissue which forms as a result of the surgery.
Matthew was a junior earning high honors at Penn Trafford High School. A popular and well liked student, Matthew’s friendliness would extend across all peer groups. He had a true heart of gold. His kindness, integrity, character and beautiful smile will be missed by all who knew him. Friends and family will remember Matthew’s passion for life and in particular, music. He was the lead guitarist for a local rock and roll band, Running From Romance. The band is still playing together and wrote a song in memory of Matthew titled Four Fourteen.
We have teamed up with the new Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital Heart Center to begin research to determine what causes congenital heart disease (the number 1 birth defect and disease killer of children under the age of 15) and how to treat it once it has been diagnosed. This organization intends to “make a difference” and “save lives”.
Ashes to Ashes
Dust to Dust
You stay immortal with us as we trust…