Team Matteo #smashcancer

For: Fiorella Manchisi, John Reyes
Milton, ON, Canada
Organizer: Joe Manchisi
Team Matteo #smashcancer (Fiorella Manchisi, John Reyes)
$25,975
of $20,000 goal.
Raised by 184 donors
100% Complete

The Story

Matteo is my eight year old nephew who become unwell back in the fall of 2016 when he woke one morning with significant swelling on his left facial lymph node. After many failed attempts at antibiotics and a misdiagnosis of Castleman’s disease after an initial biopsy Matteo had a second biopsy that confirmed that his neck lymph nodes were malignant. Further testing showed that his bone marrow was infiltrated with 95% lymphoblasts confirming a diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic leukemia on May 11th, 2017. The first week of Matteo’s hospitalization was complicated by severe headaches, fatigue, confusion and nausea followed by his lumbar punctures (that were performed to administer chemotherapy to his spinal fluid). He was discharged on day 12 of his treatment. On May 25th, my sister woke at 4am to the whimpers of Matteo who was experiencing a grand mal seizure and ended up back at McMaster’s Children’s Hospital to undergo a 7 hour urgent craniotomy to decompress his brain and remove the intracranial hemorrhage that was caused by a previously undetected blood clot in the central vein in his head. The clot was caused as an adverse effect of of asparaginase, a risky chemotherapy that he received on day 4 of his treatment. Sadly, he remains at risk for developing future seizures and his brain damage has left him with a significant left hemiparesis. Matteo has remained in patient at McMaster for over four months to receive rehabilitation and continue his treatment for high-risk ALL. He became high risk mainly because after the brain bleed there is a theoretical risk that blasts (leukemic cells) may have passed the blood brain barrier into his cerebrospinal fluid. As you can all imagine this has been quite a ride for our family and we are looking to make significant changes to my sister’s home to make Matteo as comfortable as possible, maximize his physiotherapy and buy adaptive equipment as he struggles to adapt to his limited movement on his left side. My cousin Vito has already revamped her laundry by widening the door to better accommodate a wheelchair and building a ramp in her garage. There are other modifications that are necessary to make her home safe and comfortable for Matteo. We are so grateful for any contribution that you can make to help my sister’s family deal with their new reality and help Matteo adapt to his new normal.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on October 19, 2017

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Posted on October 19, 2017

It was soooooooo nice for Matteo to get a chance to get out of the hospital for a leave of absence on Saturday and meet so many of the amazing people that are praying and supporting him during this battle! Thank you all for your kind words and generosity!  He just finished his chemo dose and NO MORE CHEMO (except for oral) until November 7th!!! This is the biggest gap of time with no lumbar punctures or intravenous chemo since he began this battle in May!!!  Matteo begins the phase of his treatment called "Delayed Intensification" after this 3 week break and hopefully we can GO HOME until his next treatment in hospital!  Fingers and toes crossed that our stairlift is installed in time.  He is feeling super barfy and pretty crappy but all in all he is a friggin trooper and most days I can get a few good laughs out of him.  Sending many cyber hugs and kisses to you all! Luv Fi and Matteo and family xoxo


Posted on October 3, 2017

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Posted on October 3, 2017

From Fiorella:  O.....M.......G- we are in complete awe of how so many people have reached out to help us on this journey!!!!  There truly are no words to express our gratitude!!! Thank you for putting our family in your prayers and donating generously to help us make Matteo's home more comfortable and accessible when he is able to finally come home!  He hasn't been up to much physiotherapy lately but we plan on having a team work hard with him when he is able to be outpatient.  Today Matteo is on day 29 of a 63 day protocol for high risk ALL.  The phase is called Interim Maintenance.  This morning he was put to sleep to receive an intrathecal dose of methotrexate, hydrocortisone, and cytarabine (to treat the cancer that could be hiding in his cerebral spinal fluid) followed by an intravenous transfusion of vincristine and high dose methotrexate.  This picture was taken at 11:30 this morning and he is still sleeping...... praying that he wakes well rested.  May God bless you are for coming on this journey with us and rooting us on.  Sending kisses from 3b9 at Mcmaster's Children's Hospital! xoxoxoxoxo Fi and Matteo


Posted on September 18, 2017

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Posted on September 18, 2017

Today Matteo was asked to be a Mac kid ambassador and share his story while welcoming cyclists from The National Kids Cancer Ride; one of the biggest and most ambitious charity cycling events on behalf of childhood cancer in the world. Now in it’s 10th year the 2017 event is an emotional and inspirational adventure beginning in Vancouver on September 6 and finishing in Halifax 18 memorable days later on September 23.  Riders pedal an average of 300 km a day and visit many of Canada’s 17 pediatric oncology centres. Together, these cyclists will raise millions of dollars on behalf of charities that improve the quality of life for children, and their families, living with and beyond cancer.  This crew was absolutely awe inspiring and wrapped Matteo and I into big, sweaty bear hugs while pulling out little beanie boos that had travelled along with them asking Matteo to hand them out to other kids on the ward.  They gifted Matteo with an honorary official riding shirt that they all signed and a new nintendo 3DS! Despite their sore bums, burning legs, blisters and exhaustion they all left McMaster’s Children’s Hospital recharged, smiling, motivated by our story and even more determined to make a difference by helping raise funds and awareness about the seldomly told story of childhood cancer. Their story is one of kindness, generosity, strength and humility that truly left me feeling so proud and hopeful that, DESPITE ALL, we are surrounded by so much greatness in this world. For my family each and every person who has reached out to help us during this terrible journey is a drop in our bucket of great things and we thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for helping us fill our bucket with your constant love, generosity and support when it feels like it’s bottoming out.  Do you know who you are?  You’re the one who baked us cookies, cupcakes or casseroles, sent texts, messages or emails, visited us over the last four months, played a game of uno, scopa, tetris, bingo, monopoly, guess who, the game of life, or xbox with Matteo, gifted us with a toy or gas card, ran for a barf bucket, built us a ramp, took Matteo for a wheelchair ride or offered to help lift him into the car, entertained my other children when they felt orphaned, wiped our tears raised our spirits or maybe even scraped us off the floor, donated an item to our fundraiser,  offered to donate your time to us, generously donated your money to help with the unexpected costs that come along with a cancer diagnosis and new disability.  You are my mom, my brother, my cousin, my zio or zia, my dear friend, my colleague, a friend of a friend, or maybe even a random stranger.  You are a precious drop in our bucket of liquid gold and for that we are forever grateful.   You deserve to see how far Matteo has come and how you have made a difference in our lives.  If I haven’t yet met you I cherish the day when that honour is bestowed upon me.  May God Bless you all, sending you infinite love and thanks from 3B 2 Room 9, Fi, John, Matteo, Marco, and Maverick  xoxo

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