Matt tells me how incredible it is that more than 3,000 people have shared his YouCaring fundraiser. That was two weeks ago. Today, his campaign has been shared more than 4,000 times and he has raised nearly $75,000. “I don’t think somebody can intimately know 3,000 people” he says, reflecting on how many people he’s never met who’ve shared and contributed to his campaign.
Matt is raising money because in June, his entire life changed. He was in the ER with unbearable pain and consistent shortness of breath. An avid athlete in tune with his body, Matt knew something was wrong. After visiting several doctors for nerve pain in his neck and shoulders and hearing them dismiss his complaints, Matt’s ER doctor suggested he get a chest X-ray, which showed a 15cm growth in Matt’s chest. The tumor has been filling Matt’s chest cavity and compressing his spine, esophagus, and lungs, which explains his shortness of breath and nerve pain.
Matt has Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, “T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma,” which means that the cancer starts in his bone marrow. Since his diagnosis, both of his sisters have been tested to see whether they are a match, and his sister Jenny, who started his YouCaring fundraiser, turns out to be a perfect match. She will donate her bone marrow to Matt this fall as he continues his long and strenuous treatment.
As I sit with Matt while he reflects on his life experience throughout the last few months, I’m moved because he is positive, grateful, and present to the fact that he is well taken care of. Plus, he cannot wait to get back to the ski slopes, and shares that even at 38, his dream of being a professional skier is real. Having a sister close by has been a lifesaver, and having a community of thousands of people, who have shown up for him through YouCaring, has allowed Matt to stay in L.A. and continue to live his life with as much normalcy as possible.
To support Matt and learn more about his story, see his campaign page here.