When Matthew Murchie was just 7 years old his father suddenly passed away. Matthew was dealing with missing his father and not having a male role model in his life so his mom Olena applied for a Big Brother for her son. Matthew was fairly shy and not too sure about what having a Big Brother would be like.  He definitely didn’t know that his Big Brother Darren Sketchley would end up being his best friend growing up and still is today – 25 years later!

Darren himself was only 18 years old when he applied to be a Big Brother and he remembers clearly the intense two hour interview plus all of the other screening that Big Brothers of Peel did with him.  It seemed like a grueling process at the time but he understood the importance of making sure the agency was selecting the best volunteers possible.  When Darren looks back at when he initially was matched with Matthew he fondly remembers how excited Matthew would be.  Matthew would be ready sometimes an hour before Darren was scheduled to pick him up in anticipation of the fun they were going to have.  They usually got together every week or sometimes every second week and spent most of their time together going to the movies, playing or watching sports and going to agency planned events.  It wasn’t just the fun activities that made their time together something to look forward to, before long they became best friends and developed an incredible bond.  Matthew sums up his feelings for Darren saying, “Darren means the world to me.  He has given me everything and has expected nothing in return.  He is my mentor, my hero, my brother. He has been a stable part of my life, someone I always know that I can turn to for advice who I can count on.  I couldn’t imagine my life without Darren and I credit much of who I am today to his guidance and support.”

Throughout the years Darren helped Matthew talk through many confusing and important issues whether it had to do with girlfriends, school or friends. It was important for Matthew to have another guy to talk to whose opinion he respected and valued. For any important decision Darren was always the go to person to make sure he was making the right choice.

Over the past 25 years, Darren and Matthew have celebrated significant milestones.  Matthew was an usher at Darren’s wedding and at the hospital for the birth of his first child. Darren more recently was the best man at Matthew’s wedding and is now the guardian of his children. Darren feels deeply proud of who Matthew has become today.  Seeing the confident, successful man he has become, married, with two young children and a successful business, is incredible to witness from what years ago was a shy 7 year old boy. Knowing the impact of Big Brothers Big Sisters programs, in addition to continuing to be Matthew’s Big Brother, Darren became an active volunteer in the agency’s In-School Mentoring Program in 2008 so that he could make a difference in another boys’ life.

Today, Darren and Matthew actually joke that they are seeing too much of each other.  Darren, who owns a company called Formcor has been helping Matthew throughout the past several years with his own media marketing company, D-SOL Media Marketing.  The acronym “D-SOL” is actually named after the two most influential people in his life, his big brother and mother “Darren Sketchley – Olena Lisecky”. Darren and Matthew would get together for ‘so called business lunches’ to catch up with one another and share some business advice.  Being the best buddies that they are,they recently decided to move their businesses to the same location as they expand.  Surely, the next 25 years together will hold many more special milestones and fond memories!