Matney vs Cancer - FIGHT!

For: Robert Matney
Organizer: Beth Burns
$76,375
of $50,000 goal
100% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

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

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on August 5, 2015 by Beth Burns
-->Rob posting from Beth's account<--

Hello Friends - 

I want to share an update from the round of medical check ups I am now having, and to take another opportunity to thank you all who have provided so much care and community to Liz and I in our hours of need.

Since surgery and treatment I have been on very regular check ups at MD Anderson. This week's check-ups and scans mark the two-year mark from my last major surgery to remove known cancer (which surgeries were then followed by the clinical research trial in Virginia.). I have been fortunate that all my scans since that surgery have been clean so far in this process, and because melanoma can be sneaky and show up as spreading a long time after the primary is gone, these check ups continue frequently. The two-year mark is one of the important milestones, and is accompanied by a significant shift in statistical survivor rates.

So, my scans came back clean, which means I've now hit this important milestone of being "No Evidence of Disease" (NED) for two two years, and wonderfully, my doctors have graduated me to only needing to visit for scans and checks ups now every 6 months (down from every 4 months).

Many thanks to the family and friends who have supported us and helped us beat the odds so far. Statistically, I should not have survived this long, and I owe it to the support and love I recieved from you, as well as the expert care I recieved from my doctors (especially Dr. Merrick Ross and Dr. Patrick Hwu).

Love,
Robert Matney


Posted on July 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/

Posted on April 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.

Posted on November 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

Posted on November 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

Posted on August 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.

Posted on July 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

Posted on July 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

Posted on July 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

Posted on July 5, 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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