The Hearty Soul
The Hearty Soul
March 18, 2024 ·  4 min read

How One Boy’s Obituary Reframed His Childhood Cancer Story

There is nothing light-hearted about a loved one succumbing to cancer, and no family can prepare for the heartbreak that follows, especially when that person is their own child. But one 5-year-old boy’s creative obituary managed to help his parents cope with the difficulty of losing him and provided some comedic relief during a very dark time.

Garret’s Battle With Cancer

Garret Matthias, who hails from Iowa, was diagnosed with stage 4 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma in September of this year (1). He underwent aggressive radiation and chemotherapy treatments, but unfortunately, these treatments were no match for his disease (1). Garret’s cancer spread and he passed away (1).

Luckily, Garret’s parents were able to help him write his final message before it was too late, and now it has captured the whole world’s attention (1). Garret’s silly personality and zest for life are what jumps out in his unique obituary, and it’s what he is being remembered for today.

A Personality To Remember

In Garret’s obituary, he names some of his favorite things, including superheroes like Thor and Batman, playing with his sister, Lego, and his bunny (1). Clearly, he had pretty good taste! Garret also had a funny way of answering questions, stating, “I am 5 years old. My address is: I am a Bulldog! My favorite color is: blue…and Red and Black and Green” (1).

One particularly unique answer that stood out from his obituary was his eloquent explanation of where he wants to go after he dies. Garret explained, “When I die I am going to be a gorilla and throw poo at daddy!” (1). His sign-off was pretty outstanding too – he ended with “See ya later suckas! – The Great Garrett Underpants” (1).

While Garret’s parents were understandably sad when he passed away, his words helped them get through his funeral, which took on a whole new meaning (1). They stated, “We’ve cried oceans of tears in the last nine months but I think this is one of the things we can do to make his day special and not sad” (1). His funeral was held on Saturday (1).

Here’s everything Garrett had to say in his obituary:

“My name is: Garrett Michael Boofias

My birthday is: I am 5 years old

My address is: I am a Bulldog!

My favorite color is: Blue….and Red and Black and Green

My favorite superhero is: Batman…and Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk and Cyborg

When I grow up: I’m going to be a professional boxer

My favorite people are:

•Mommy, Daddy, my sister ‘Delcina’ (Delphina),

•The grandparents with the new house (Fredric and Cheryl Krueger),

•The grandparents with the camper (Daniel and Nita Matthias),

•My cousins: Grady, ‘that guy I took down that one time’ (Luke), and London Marie,

•My Auntie Janette and Stinky Uncle Andy (Andrew and Janette Krueger),

•Those two guys, you know, my uncles (Kristopfer Krueger and James



The things I love the most: Playing with my sister, my blue bunny, thrash metal, Legos, my daycare friends, Batman and when they put me to sleep before they access my port

Things I hate: Pants!, dirty stupid cancer, when they access my port, needles, and the monkey nose that smells like cherry farts…I do like the mint monkey nose like at Mayo Radiation and that one guy that helped me build Legos (Randy)

When I die: I am going to be a gorilla and throw poo at Daddy!

Burned or Buried: I want to be burned (like when Thor’s Mommy died) and made into a tree so I can live in it when I’m a gorilla

Big or Small Funeral: Funerals are sad: I want 5 bouncy houses (because I’m 5), Batman, and snow cones

See ya later, suckas!” (2).

Types of Childhood Cancer & Signs to Look Out For

Garret and his family are one of thousands of families who have had to deal with childhood cancer and its devastating effects. Garret’s type of cancer, Rhabdomysarcoma, is one of the most common types cancers seen in children (3). Other common childhood cancers include leukemia, brain and spinal cord tumors, neuroblastoma, Wilms’ tumor, lymphoma, retinoblastoma, and bone cancer (3).

Detecting early warning signs of childhood cancer greatly affects a child’s prognosis, so it’s important to know what to look out for. Some common symptoms of cancer include (4):

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Headaches, swelling in the joints
  • Bones, back, or legs
  • A lump or mass in the abdomen, chest, pelvis, neck, or armpits
  • Excessive bruising, bleeding, or rashes
  • Persistent infections
  • A white colour behind the pupil
  • Persistent nausea
  • Frequent tiredness and paleness
  • Changes in eye vision
  • Recurring fevers with an unknown origin

If you’d like to help families like Garrett’s that have been affected by childhood cancer, you can donate to the American Children’s Cancer Foundation or to The Children’s Cancer Research Fund. Read this next to learn about how breast milk can decrease a baby’s chance of developing leukemia.


  1. (1) “See ya later, suckas”: Boy, 5, writes own obituary before dying of cancer. (2018, July 12). Retrieved from
  2. (2) Garrett Michael Matthias. (2018). Retrieved from
  3. (3) Cancers that Develop in Children. (2016, August 22). Retrieved from
  4. (4) Childhood Cancer: Symptoms and Signs. (2017, April). Retrieved from