Matteo's Story


Matteo Tate Martino was born on January 10, 2008, exactly seven minutes after his twin brother, Rocco. He was welcomed by his two loving parents, Jodi and Dan, and big sister Gabriella, who was just 2 at the time.

Matteo was a sweet little boy. He had sun-kissed skin, a deep and raspy voice, and a head full of golden brown curls. He was full of love, life, curiosity and energy and loved exploring the world he lived in. He could cuddle with his mommy on the sofa for hours and be content just knowing that he was held. Some of his favorite activities also included riding little cars in the driveway and on neighborhood sidewalks, going on swings and sliding down slides, playing catch, jumping on the trampoline with his brother and sister, playing with water in the backyard, swimming class, and spending time with his family. He loved dogs and any animal he saw. He loved looking at books with his big sister. He loved climbing in and out of big boxes and containers with his twin brother, Rocco. And, he LOVED watching Go, Diego, Go! and Dora The Explorer on TV. 

Thankfully, so much of Matteo’s life was documented on the Martino family’s blog by Matteo’s mom, Jodi. Who could have ever guessed how important it would someday be to have taken the time to document so many memories and funny moments from this little man’s life?

On the morning of July 5, 2009, Matteo’s parents woke to find Matteo had died in his sleep sometime during the night. He was 17 months and 25 days old. His exact cause of death was never determined, even after an extensive autopsy. SIDS was ruled out due to age and the fact that no obstructions were found near his face. All we know is that Matteo had a fever for the 30 hours prior to Jodi putting him in bed on the evening of July 4th. So his cause of death may have been related to his immune system not being able to fight a virus he had caught.

Matteo’s death remains an overwhelming and heartbreaking loss to his parents, big sister, and twin brother. His baby sister was born six months after he died, on his birthday. And, the family welcomed his little brother in May 2012. Matteo lives on in the family's home in photos and daily conversations. 

In an effort to keep Matteo’s memory alive, Jodi and Dan decided to establish Matteo’s Dream Fund in an effort to do something good for sick and terminally ill children and their families at various children’s hospitals throughout the United States.