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About Swirls Around the World
Matthew “Swirls” Cirelli was truly larger than life. His friends gave him the nickname “Swirls” for his red, curly hair, and the name stuck.
In January 2011, Matt was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, but that did not stop him from living life to the fullest.
A 2012 graduate of Medford High Schools Matt was an excellent, hard-working student, and a member of the cross country team.
During his senior year, he bravely fought through numerous treatments to complete his course work, and to enjoy the prom and graduation. To his classmates, Swirls was beloved for his kindness, easy-going manner, sense of humor, and of course, the curly hair which gave him his nickname. He was accepted into several colleges, and planned on attending Merrimack College. He was a lifelong parishioner of Saint Mary’s Parish in Winchester.
Matt wanted to follow in his parents' footsteps and hoped to pursue a career as a medical professional. He was compassionate and always helping others. Having two cousins with autism, Swirls was, from a young age, interested in helping those with special needs.
He was devoted to spending time with his cousin Eric. Throughout high school, Swirls also served as a respite provider for the Northeast ARC in Danvers, working with individuals with autism.
Matt was grateful for the excellent medical care and tremendous kindness he had received since his illness began. Fittingly, his greatest wish was to recover, so he could return the favor and help others.
Matt loved sports and games. He played on several youth teams. He spent hours with Jared, friends and cousins, playing baseball and soccer at Playstead Park, street hockey and basketball in his backyard.
When he wasn't playing sports, Matt was watching them. He was an avid fan of the Patriots, Bruins, Celtics, and Red Sox, and in his nineteen years, saw 8 duck boat parades. This year, he attended many sporting events, including witnessing his mentor Scott run the Boston Marathon, his Red Sox win the World Series, and, just last week, his Bruins take down the Bluejackets.
Swirls was a leader at starting and maintaining family traditions: egg toss races and fireworks on the Fourth of July; home run derby’s and family flag football on Thanksgiving; sleepovers at Aunt Brenda's; family pasta Sunday parties; and trips to Florida with his uncles. Matt loved spending time with his grandparents, parents, brother, and his many uncles, aunts and cousins.
Swirls was a great friend. He enjoyed hiking at the Reservoir, swimming, Chinese food, and body painting Antoine in the backyard. Cruising in the Swirls mobile and trips to Cape Cod and New Hampshire were always a favorite. The Swirls’ gang enjoyed street hockey and bonfires in Mama Swirls’ backyard. Swirls touched everyone he ever met.
Unfortunately, on December 8th, 2013, Matthew passed away at just 19 years old after fighting a long battle.????
Though Matt is not here physically, we work to keep his memory and legacy alive. We want to continue Matt’s life and his story.
In his honor, Matt’s family has created Swirls Around the World, a Facebook page that allows everyone to bring a yellow Swirls Strong wristband on vacations or anywhere that is special to them, take a picture, and post it on the Swirls page. In the past 5, Swirls has been to Italy, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and even climbed the Great Wall of China.
To continue to honor Matthew's legacy, our family decided to expand Swirls Around the World into a nonprofit organization. Through our fundraising efforts, we fund the Matthew "Swirls" Cirelli Memorial Scholarship at Medford High School to a student each year. We also give back to Massachusetts General Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic, provide support for pediatric/young adult cancer patients and families, and are starting a "Swirls All-Star" Program to plan a special day for a warrior battling cancer.
One of Matthew’s famous quotes is “If you can understand the meaning of life, then you can understand anything. With that said I have already achieved it”.
Link to Swirls Around the World: