Matney vs Cancer - FIGHT!

$76,375raised of $50,000 goal
100%

Organizer: Beth Burns Beneficiary: Robert Matney

This fundraiser is closed

Our great friend Robert Matney — a stage actor & linchpin of Austin's theatre community — is the definition of generosity and kindness. In an unbelievably unfair set of circumstances, Robert, the 37-year-old actor, director, technology designer, and social media sherpa, is facing his third health care battle in almost as many years.

First, Robert battled bladder cancer, recovering with the support and love of his wife, stage and independent film actress Liz Fisher. Last year, he suffered a double pulmonary embolism, coming back literally from the brink of death with the help of remarkable ER docs in Austin. And this year, just days before he was slated to leave for an artist-in-residency with Liz in Russia, he was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. The cancer has spread to his lymph nodes; he is slated to start chemo this summer.

Robert and Liz — still digging out from their most recent mountain of medical bills — need our help to take on this next battle. Let's take the focus off of those staggering bills and living expenses, and let Robert put his attentions where they belong: making his best treatment choices, beating this cancer, getting healthy, and living.  In this fight, with our help, the odds are on MATNEY to win.

The Matney vs Cancer Tent Revival will take place at the Off Center, Wednesday July 17th, 8pm-11pm.  If you are interested in becoming a special sponsor of this event, please contact hiddenroomtheatre@yahoo.com right away. 

Tickets are available here:  http://bptx.me/328

Updates

Updates

07/10/2014
by Beth Burns
-->Rob posting from Beth's account<--

Hello Friends - 

Recently I've written a couple blog posts that share some updates of this journey. The first of them linked below reports the process of the clinical trial, which was very much enabled by all of you.

I hope today finds all of you and yours well and healthy. Love to all of you.

My Best,
Robert Matney

http://rmatney.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/my-clinical-trial-and-why-you-might-consider-one/

http://rmatney.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/make-good-art/
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04/24/2014
by Beth Burns
-->Rob posting from Beth's account<--

At my final appointment yesterday, the doc gave me good results on all of the tests that have been run, gave me some smart advice about stress reduction and nutrition that may help my odds further, and said things have been looking good enough that he finds it appropriate to slightly diminish my frequency of visits/scans (which is slightly and unexpectedly ahead of schedule). He is recommending this be a 4 month gap, rather than a 3 month gap.

I am relieved that these are over for now, and that I am unlikely to get poked/prodded/stuck by doctors for 4 months, a luxurious increment of time. Thanks to you for your support and care. I have little doubt that the embarrassment of riches that are my community of family and friends have helped create the world that has me able to still be a part of it.

I will be writing more soon about the journey so far.
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11/25/2013
by Beth Burns
-->Rob posting from Beth's account<--

Hello friends. With a little more time to get to overdue tasks, I am writing things long intended. Linked below is a post about a beautiful spoken poem written by Steven Tomlinson for one of the benefit events. I hope you find as much meaning and value in it as I do.

http://rmatney.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/loveyougoodbyemaybe/

My Best to you all,
Robert Matney
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11/21/2013
by Beth Burns
-->Rob posting from Beth's account<--

Hello dear friends. I have just posted an update at me blog on how the cancer treatment is going. There are more posts to come over the next few weeks, and I will cross post them here as well. Liz and I remain so grateful for the support you've given us. 

Our Best,
Rob and Liz
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08/28/2013
by Beth Burns
-->Rob posting from Beth's account<--

An update on this week's medical events can be found here.

I will be posting more updates on that blog if you want to following along, and cross posting here at least once more.

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07/16/2013
by Beth Burns
-->Rob posting from Beth's account<--

Last week's doc appointments were better than expected, and Liz and I are very pleased with the medical team now in place to get me past All This. The team is lead by Dr. Hwu (pronounced "Who") at MD Anderson (which is, from our experience so far, every bit as good as you've heard). I could write for hours on the contents of and news from the appointments, but that risks some epically boring prose, and so offer here a high level summary. If you have any detailed questions, just let me know, and I will likely be happy to share thoughts and answers.
My healing from the surgeries is ahead of schedule and I am seeing a smart physical therapist here in Austin to restore arm strength and full range of motion. Meanwhile, Dr. Hwu doc puts my odds of melanoma recurrence at 30-35% across the next 10 years, which is a vast improvement from the statitstical landscape initially described to me (by other doctors).  Additionally, Dr. Hwu is plugged into emerging research, and reports that what is on the horizon is exciting. He is confident that if there is a recurrence, it will be survivable with the help of newer treatments. (It is a relief to be around optimism of virtually any kind, especially when it includes optimism grounded in rigorous science.) Of most surprising import in the appointments was Dr. Hwu's advice that the single most important thing I can do to give my recovery the best chance is to reduce stress, which can affect immune system so strongly (and of course, wear sunscreen).
We now face some choices to determine what will be my course of ongoing treatment to prevent recurrence. It is a bit like a high stakes shell game (or maybe the 'monty hall paradox'), as none of the treatment options have a great proven track record, and all of them are either experimental or have rough side effects. So, it is time for research, and then our best informed choice. We'll update when we know what the treatment will be, which will likely not be until the end of August after the next round of tests and appointments.
We continue to be inexpressibly lifted by and grateful for the support of our friends and family. Your love has kept us moving forward when it has seemed impossible. Your financial support is covering the costs of two surgeries and dozens of appointments so far, enabling us to focus on looking with open eyes and open hearts at this process.
All Our Love,
Rob and Liz

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07/14/2013
by Beth Burns
-->Rob posting from Beth's account<--

Last week's doc appointments were better than expected, and Liz and I are very pleased with the medical team now in place to get me past All This. The team is lead by Dr. Hwu (pronounced "Who") at MD Anderson (which is, from our experience so far, every bit as good as you've heard). I could write for hours on the contents of and news from the appointments, but that risks some epically boring prose, and so offer here a high level summary. If you have any detailed questions, just let me know, and I will likely be happy to share thoughts and answers.
My healing from the surgeries is ahead of schedule and I am seeing a smart physical therapist here in Austin to restore arm strength and full range of motion. Meanwhile, Dr. Hwu doc puts my odds of melanoma recurrence at 30-35% across the next 10 years, which is a vast improvement from the statitstical landscape initially described to me (by other doctors).  Additionally, Dr. Hwu is plugged into emerging research, and reports that what is on the horizon is exciting. He is confident that if there is a recurrence, it will be survivable with the help of newer treatments. (It is a relief to be around optimism of virtually any kind, especially when it includes optimism grounded in rigorous science.) Of most surprising import in the appointments was Dr. Hwu's advice that the single most important thing I can do to give my recovery the best chance is to reduce stress, which can affect immune system so strongly (and of course, wear sunscreen).
We now face some choices to determine what will be my course of ongoing treatment to prevent recurrence. It is a bit like a high stakes shell game (or maybe the 'monty hall paradox'), as none of the treatment options have a great proven track record, and all of them are either experimental or have rough side effects. So, it is time for research, and then our best informed choice. We'll update when we know what the treatment will be, which will likely not be until the end of August after the next round of tests and appointments.
We continue to be inexpressibly lifted by and grateful for the support of our friends and family. Your love has kept us moving forward when it has seemed impossible. Your financial support is covering the costs of two surgeries and dozens of appointments so far, enabling us to focus on looking with open eyes and open hearts at this process.
All Our Love,
Rob and Liz

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07/14/2013
by Beth Burns
-->Rob posting from Beth's account<--

Last week's doc appointments were better than expected, and Liz and I are very pleased with the medical team now in place to get me past All This. The team is lead by Dr. Hwu (pronounced "Who") at MD Anderson (which is, from our experience so far, every bit as good as you've heard). I could write for hours on the contents of and news from the appointments, but that risks some epically boring prose, and so offer here a high level summary. If you have any detailed questions, just let me know, and I will likely be happy to share thoughts and answers.
My healing from the surgeries is ahead of schedule and I am seeing a smart physical therapist here in Austin to restore arm strength and full range of motion. Meanwhile, Dr. Hwu doc puts my odds of melanoma recurrence at 30-35% across the next 10 years, which is a vast improvement from the statitstical landscape initially described to me (by other doctors).  Additionally, Dr. Hwu is plugged into emerging research, and reports that what is on the horizon is exciting. He is confident that if there is a recurrence, it will be survivable with the help of newer treatments. (It is a relief to be around optimism of virtually any kind, especially when it includes optimism grounded in rigorous science.) Of most surprising import in the appointments was Dr. Hwu's advice that the single most important thing I can do to give my recovery the best chance is to reduce stress, which can affect immune system so strongly (and of course, wear sunscreen).
We now face some choices to determine what will be my course of ongoing treatment to prevent recurrence. It is a bit like a high stakes shell game (or maybe the 'monty hall paradox'), as none of the treatment options have a great proven track record, and all of them are either experimental or have rough side effects. So, it is time for research, and then our best informed choice. We'll update when we know what the treatment will be, which will likely not be until the end of August after the next round of tests and appointments.
We continue to be inexpressibly lifted by and grateful for the support of our friends and family. Your love has kept us moving forward when it has seemed impossible. Your financial support is covering the costs of two surgeries and dozens of appointments so far, enabling us to focus on looking with open eyes and open hearts at this process.
All Our Love,
Rob and Liz

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07/05/2013
by Beth Burns
Tickets are available for our Matney vs Cancer: TENT REVIVAL!  Wednesday July 17th, doors at 8pm, entertainment beginning at 8:30.  

facebook event here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1313368298802379/?fref=ts

tickets here:
https://secure.buyplaytix.com/matneyvscancer/reserve/tent_revival.html

Scheduled guests include, Steven Tomlinson, Kirk Lynn, Cami Alys, Shoulders, Manateeman, and hosted by Lowell Bartholomee.  Can we get a witness?


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07/01/2013
by Beth Burns
Whan at incredible night and what a generous, loving show of support for Rob and Liz!  Supporters, we raised $4550 in ticket sales, plus an additional $5989 in donations thereby reaching out matching challenge grant!  So adding our $5000 match to that, we made over $15,500 for our first event, taking us past our halfway goal and then some.  It's a big success, folks, and we couldn't be more grateful to you.

Special thanks for making tonight's event possible go to our donors, host committee, volunteers, and the Austin theatre community, with special applause to Street Corner Arts, A Chick and a Dude Productions, Austin Playhouse, Pallindrome, Vortex, Off Center, Austin Shakespeare for their time, expertise, sweat, and love.  Thanks you guys!  We're over halfway there!
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06/30/2013
by Beth Burns
-->Rob posting from Beth's account<--

Hello Dear Friends - 

Thank you so much for this support. Liz and I are grateful in meaure beyond our ability to express. Your notes of support are heart-lifting in dark hours.

First, I wish share my endless gratitude to Beth Burns, who led the organization of this benefit web page, as well as two live events. Would that everyone experiencing serious medical concerns might have a Beth-like person in their lives.; and so in this way, as in many others, I must count myself very fortunate. Thanks also to what appears to be a small army of people helping Beth coordinate and execute the various pieces of this complex effort.

Also, Liz and I want to share gratitude to you who have shared this page with your friends and those who have made contributions. Liz and I are overwhelmed by the caring attention from old friends and new. We have been very fortunate in our lives, insofar as we've had loving and supportive families, good (and occasionally wonderful) education  extraordinary friends, and resources that have allowed us to live comfortably our whole lives, never needing to wonder where the next meal would come from. Because of these advantages supplemented by our own effort, Liz and I have always been insured, we watch what we eat, and I have spent years running distance enough to recently complete marathons, triathlons, and half-marathons.  But of course , it turns out these choices and advantages aren't always sufficient to avoid either serious health issues, or the an extraordinary quantity of bills that can accompany them. And so Beth and all of you stepped in to help, and to allow us to focus on healing rather than finances. Your efforts  have gone far to succeed in this and have allowed us so far to put focus on health, recovery, and when I am able, getting back to the digital and art work I love. 
This peace of mind you've given us has no monetary value. It is too big. We will spend the rest of our (hopefully long) lives being grateful for this.

Should the contributions we receive go beyond the pressing needs we have (unlikely perhaps, but possible), we will check in with this community here and communicate to what organizations we will donate any excess funds to help an individual or an organization continue with life and vitality.

We'll see some of you in a coule hours at the first event. Looking forward to the next time we see you.

Our Very Best and Our Deep Gratitude,
Fishneys

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06/29/2013
by Beth Burns
We've just cleared $18,000 today, and with the first benefit event to land tomorrow (Sunday June 30th) things are looking great.  Those funds that you have raised have already paid medical bills and prescription costs, made shoulders lower, and sighs of relief come flooding in.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU.   We are overwhelmed by the love in the ring for Matney.


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06/25/2013
by Beth Burns
-->Rob posting from Beth's account<--

Some good news came in yesterday that I wanted to share right away: 

The pathology reports from surgery came back: Of the 39 lymph nodes removed, zero of them showed evidence of cancer according to the tests run.

While Melanoma is insidious, and has a reputation for hiding out and making surprise visits, this increases the chances that we've got rid of the nasty cells. It also remains likely that some flavor of chemo is in my near future, but for now, I am happy to celebrate this tiny victory, and wanted to share it first with you all, who have done so much to take worry off of my mind. 

As you may know, Melanoma is extremely subject to immune system health and stress/anxiety directly impacts immune system health. You here have diminished my stress, and thereby increased my body's ability to knock these invaders out. You may very well, besides easing my heart, be saving my life. Thank you.
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06/23/2013
by Beth Burns
Still going strong as we prepare for our first live event to support Matney vs Cancer: Fight!  Join us Sunday June 30th for a reunion staged reading of the Hidden Room's award-winning Taming of the Shrew Original Practices at the York Rite. Wine reception at 6pm, performance begins at 7pm.  We will also be holding an incredible silent auction that night, so bring your bidding spirit!  

Tickets are available now at http://bptx.me/2ws
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06/19/2013
by Beth Burns
WOW.  Thank you so much to supporters of Matney vs Cancer: Fight!  You guys are amazing, and your generosity really is lifting some seriuos spirits.  And your sharing the video is really helping tremendously!  Thank you, and keep up that amazing work spreading the news.  Astounding!

Love,
Beth
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06/17/2013
by Beth Burns
The program is LAUNCHED!  So many thanks to our friends and family who are already stepping to the plate!  Thank you for sharing this link like crazy.

Tickets to the Hidden Room Theatre's reunion reading of Taming of the Shrew are now on sale, and all proceeds go directly to the Matney vs Cancer: Fight! benefit.  It will be delightful evening with wine, cheese, and Shrew!  THe original cast is so excited to get back to the York Rite to stand by Matney in this fight.

See you there!

http://matneyvscancer.buyplaytix.com/


 
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06/17/2013
by Beth Burns
The program is LAUNCHED!  So many thanks to our friends and family who are already stepping to the plate!  Thank you for sharing this link like crazy.

Tickets to the Hidden Room Theatre's reunion reading of Taming of the Shrew are now on sale, and all proceeds go directly to the Matney vs Cancer: Fight! benefit.  It will be delightful evening with wine, cheese, and Shrew!  THe original cast is so excited to get back to the York Rite to stand by Matney in this fight.

See you there!

http://matneyvscancer.buyplaytix.com/


 
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06/15/2013
by Beth Burns
From the Hidden Room:

Please join us as we band together to support our very own and much beloved Robert Matney. We are proud to announce that the launch event of the Matney vs Cancer: Fight! benefit is a reunion staged reading of our award-winning Taming of the Shrew Original Practices, Sunday June 30th at the York Rite Masonic Hall. Tickets go one sale shortly. What a wonderful way to show the love for Matney and stand with him in this fight!

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06/15/2013
by Beth Burns
From Liz:

There is truly no place like home. The Robert has landed safely in Austin and is now holding court on the world's most comfy couch. (No, really. If you don't believe me, come by and take her for a test nap.)

24 hours after surgery and he's cracking jokes, rocking a stylish do, and already going on walks. One might say he makes cancer his bitch. If one used vulgar language like that.
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06/10/2013
by Beth Burns
Cover me, I'm going in! (say goodbye to Rob's axial [medical jargon, what-what] lymph nodes, evuhbuddy)

Tomorrow, Liz and I drive to MD Anderson (Houston) for a series of appointments, and then Wednesday morning these suckers are coming out, in the hopes that this act removes any lingering cancer. If all goes as expected, I'll stay one night in the hospital and then we will return home to Austin on Thursday. Liz'll post updates from the field, and will likely set up one of them-there "care calendar" doo-hickies to help with the recovery.

Thanks for the kind support. Liz and I have been so lifted by your messages and kindnesses, and we are most grateful.

And now for something funny and sweet and exquisitely artful.https://vimeo.com/channels/staffpicks/67554203


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