Last update:
May 25th
2000

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The Family Message

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Matthew Shepard

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EXCERPT FROM PARENTS' STATEMENT
(Before His Death)
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"Matthew is a very special person, and everyone can learn important lessons from his life. All of us who know Matthew see him as he is, a very kind and gentle soul. He is a strong believer in humanity and human rights. He is a trusting person who takes everybody at face value and he does not see the bad side of anyone.

"His one intolerance is when people don't accept others as they are. He has always strongly felt that all people are the same-regardless of their sexual preference, race or religion.

"We know he believes that all of us are part of the same family called Humanity, and each and everyone of us should treat all people with respect and dignity, and that each of us has the right to live a full and rewarding life. That is one lesson which we are very certain he would share with you, if he could.

"Matthew also feels strongly about family. He is a loving son, brother and grandson who has made our own lives much richer and fuller than what we would have experienced without him.

"Matthew's life has often been a struggle in one way or another. He was born prematurely, and he struggled to survive as an infant. He is physically short in stature but we believe he is a giant when it comes to respecting the worth of others. We know that he thinks if he can make one person's life better in this world, then he has succeeded. That is a measure of success which Matthew has always pursued.

"Matthew very much enjoys the outdoors and camping, and he has always loved acting in the theatre-he started acting in community theatre at the age of 5. Acting and the theatre arts are skills at which Matthew excels.

"He knows he's not the best athlete in the world but he has a very competitive spirit. One time he participated in the Wyoming State Games. He had a respectable finish in a running competition and then he decided to compete in a swimming event. He did this even though he knew he would likely finish last. Which he did. Afterwards, he acknowledged to us that he knew his chances of winning were far from good but he wasn't going to let that stop him from trying. That's Matthew's lesson for all of us - it's lesson that we hope everyone takes to heart.

"Matthew has traveled all over the world. He speaks three languages: English, German and Italian. He loves Europe, but he also loves Laramie and the University of Wyoming. We feel that, if he was giving this statement himself, he would emphasize he does not want the horrible actions of a few very disturbed individuals to mar the fine reputations of Laramie or the university.

"We also have a special request for the members of the media. Matthew is very much in need of his family at this time, and we ask that you respect our privacy, as well as Matthew's so we can concentrate all of our efforts, thoughts and love on our son.

"Thank you very much."

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Donations in Matthew's name may be made to:

Matthew Shepard Fund (#1926083)
c/o 1st National Bank
Box 578
Fort Collins, CO 80522

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