These “Rare Candy” Award Winners Are a Real Treat!

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"Rare candy" award??

If you’re not a fan of Pokémon, you probably have no idea what a “rare candy” award would be.

Ten-year-old CoachArt student Matthew IS a fan of Pokémon — and his story will show you what this award is all about…

Bouncing back and leveling up

A child’s health challenges can take any parent down a long and winding road.

But CoachArt families show that with the love and understanding of family and friends to prop us up, we can handle just about anything life chucks at us. (Humans are seriously tough cookies.)

Meet our family support superstars and “Rare Candy” Award winners: Matthew and his mother, Blanca!

Together, there’s nothing this mom-and-son team can’t tackle.

Blanca and Matthew

From one side of the desk to the other

Until it was discovered that Matthew had a brain tumor, Blanca worked as a social worker for the Department of Children and Family Services.

She dedicated her career to helping foster children, struggling families, and people who’d been dealt a hand that was hard to play.

Blanca never expected that one day, she’d be sitting on the opposite side of her desk—in the same chair where countless people she’d served had been seated before.

(Talk about flipping the script!)

Life has come full circle for Blanca. Her professional experience uniquely prepared her for Matthew’s diagnosis, and soon enough, she leaped from fierce advocate for parents to full-on fighter alongside parents!

Matthew and Blanca

Pokémon “rare candy”

Just in case you aren’t a Pokémon Master, here’s what you need to know about “rare candy”:

  • It makes a Pokémon level up
  • It can cause a Pokémon to evolve into another Pokémon
  • It can revive a fainted Pokémon

In other words, “rare candy” makes a Pokémon stronger. It’s the perfect Pokémon lingo to describe Matthew, Blanca, and their complete family unit!

One of the most difficult adjustments to make after Matthew’s diagnosis was changing his way of play. For that, CoachArt has been a game changer.

(And a life changer!)

Putting the “carefree” back in childhood

CoachArt has given Matthew the chance to feel like any other kid. When he’s in a CoachArt class, he doesn’t feel “different.” He feels welcome and accepted!

With CoachArt, Matthew’s illness can take a backseat for a while. He won’t have to talk or even think about his health! All he has to focus on is having fun.

Since joining CoachArt in 2019, Matthew’s enjoyed learning more about:

  • Painting
  • Sewing
  • Photography
  • Geology

And of course, Pokémon!

Matthew with Pokémon artwork

Pokémon Master Matthew

Dying to know more about his passion for Pokémon, we sat with Matthew and dug a little deeper.

CoachArt: “What is your favorite Pokémon?”
Matthew: “It might be Eevee.”
CoachArt: “What do you like about Eevee?”
Matthew: “It’s the only Pokémon that can evolve into eight different
CoachArt: “Okay, the real question is: which one is your favorite evolution?”
Matthew: “It has to be Glaceon.”

Well Matthew — from the entire CoachArt community, we’re so amazed by all your “evolutions” and can’t wait to see how you “level up” next!

Matthew the chef

How You—Yeah, YOU!—Can Help Other Kids and Families “Level Up”

Your donations to CoachArt guarantee that kids (like Matthew) can keep having lessons at no cost to their families (like Blanca).

100% of our 2023 Impact Fund goes to the lesson materials and volunteer training and management to provide more lessons to more kids in 2023.

$14 is the average cost of 1 lesson for 1 student, through CoachArt’s innovative model.

Make your impact

Be part of CoachArt’s innovative program making an impact for kids affected by serious illness.

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