Each year, Easter Seals of Central Pennsylvania helps hundreds of kids with disabilities. And it's the job of Matt Ernst to make sure those kids have fun. As the Recreation Director for Easter Seals, Matt has created programs such as scuba diving, skiing and riding horses. All his work has earned Matt the title of Children's Health Advocate - a Healthcare Hero. It is because Matt sees the best in all of the children, including Lilly.Lilly's father, John Gilmore, explains. "We have to help her walk. She doesn't use words or anything like that. So to go from that and to see her out here riding horseback it has been pretty amazing."
Lilly has a severe seizure disorder. In fact, she typically suffers from eight seizures a day. Her parents enrolled her in Matt's horseback riding program for Easter Seals. She's been climbing in the saddle for the past three years. During that time, Lilly has never once suffered from a seizure."I think it's phenomenal," says Lilly's mother, Natalie. "He's a great guy. He doesn't see the differences among the kids. And you know from day one we realized that about him."Matt says he doesn't see their disabilities, just their development. "I know if there's a precaution. I know if there's an allergy. Other than that I don't pay attention to it. We're here just to achieve goals."As a parent, John says Matt has been a Healthcare Hero to his daughter, "I think it's a perfect title for him for what he does and the effort that he does with these kids. I think there's nobody that deserves that more than he does."But Matt stays humble about his hero status. He says it's just part of his job, "There's no doubt it is the kids. Seeing the kids accomplish their goals and knowing that you are making a difference. That's pretty much why I do what I do."