In June 2012, Matthew graduated university in Civil Engineering with honors. In June of 2013, Matthew and I moved into our new home together and in June of 2014, we got married! We were living the perfect life: high school sweethearts, best friends, and soul mates for 9 years. We were getting ready to start our life together with hopes of building a family of our own.
In August of 2014, our world came crumbling down as Matthew was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). As we spoke that night, with tears running down our faces, Matt promised that he would fight, that he would never ever give up and that we would soon go back to living our beautiful life together. I promised that I would fight for him and that I would never leave his side… and boy has he fought hard ever since! It’s safe to say that anyone who has ever met Matthew has been touched by his warmth and charisma. He grabs the heart of everyone he meets and is one of those special people who touches your soul.
Last year, in March of 2016, when all possible treatments in Canada had failed, we didn’t give up! We knew there was another option. We shared our story on social media and with everyone’s unbelievable generosity and support we raised enough money for Matthew to receive the miracle CAR-T19 treatment, in the United States, that saved his life for the first time.
Regrettably, his leukemia has returned, but fortunately many advancements have been made in the cancer treatment field since then. A gene mutation was recently discovered in Matthew’s cancer. This mutation would explain why he didn’t respond to standard therapies and why he constantly relapsed after achieving complete remissions. This gene can be targeted with a drug, but his leukemia burden must be treated first. Matthew wants to fight this terrible disease but sadly, once again, there are no available treatments for him here in Canada.
As recommended by his doctors, both here in Canada and in the USA, Matthew’s best hope to defeat this horrible disease and save his life is an improved CAR-T19 immunotherapy treatment. This is the same clinical trial that Matthew received at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York last year, which was extremely successful and brought him into complete remission. However, this trial has been genetically modified differently to allow the CAR-T cells to last longer in his body, hence continuing to kill any cancer cells that may arise! The doctors and all of us are very confident that this treatment will work just as well, and probably even better!
Unfortunately, we find ourselves in the same financial situation we were in last year, in desperate need of raising money for the improved CAR-T19 experimental trial that saved Matthew in the Spring of 2015. This immunotherapy trial will cost between $650,000 – $700,000 CAD and is available at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. It’s even more promising, seeing as Fred Hutchison has treated over 140 patients and has had incredible high success rates. Many patients are still in remission over 3 years later, without having done any other treatments.
WE NEED EVERYONE’S HELP!
A HERO…Since being diagnosed with cancer, Matt has had hundreds of blood transfusions, over 25 bone marrow biopsies and more than 15 lumbar punctures. He has gone through more painful procedures and continued physical pain than anyone can imagine. Matthew never complains because the thought and possibility of a normal future keep him going! Sometimes he forces a smile through his pain or makes silly jokes, but he never complains… Matt’s a hero!
In the midst of his battle, he has continued to work hard to help others and to raise awareness in bringing immunotherapies and CAR-T cell clinical trials to Canada. He has made it his mission and has succeeded by being an integral part in securing a $57M grant to accelerate access to innovative cancer immunotherapies. The Centre for Commercialization of Cancer Immunotherapy (C3I), affiliated with Maisonneuve-Rosemont hospital, has received this funding from private investors as well as the Federal and Provincial governments. Sadly, however, these treatments are not yet available in Canada for ALL, Matthew’s specific disease.
IT IS NOW YOUR TURN TO BE A HERO… Together we can save Matthew’s life, again! Please help us by donating, sharing his story and continuing to support us in this battle.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts in advance!
With love and tears of gratitude,
Matthew’s loving wife Katia, Mother, Father, Sisters, Family & Friends.
*Your donations will assist in expenses incurred for his hospitalization, the treatment and related medical expenses. The treatment cost is expected to be between $650,000 – $700,000 CAD.
**If you wish to read about our previous fundraising campaign that saved Matthew’s life last year, please visit our Help Save Matthew Facebook page.