September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 12, 2009 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Matthew Tracy. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Matthew’s Fund.
Matthew Tracy’s Story:
Matthew was diagnosed with a Craniopharyngioma (brain tumor) in 2000 when he was 4 years old and had surgery and radiation. For the next five years, he enjoyed a period of stability and no tumor growth. He was able to lead a normal life for the most part. Beginning in early 2006 through January 2009, Matthew underwent 10 more surgeries both in Atlanta and Memphis and additional radiation as his tumor continued to recur and regrow. Some of these surgeries were resections of the tumor; others were to install Ommaya Reservoirs to facilitate drainage of the tumor cyst.
Matthew lost all vision in his left eye in March 2008, likely due to radiation damage from 2007. He lost peripheral vision in his right eye in August 2008 which led us back to Memphis for surgery in an attempt to preserve his remaining vision. The pathology report came back indicating that the tumor had malignant tendencies, but we crossed our fingers that they were able to get all of the live tumor out. By November, the tumor and cyst had both regrown. In an attempt to relieve pressure, Matthew had surgery at Scottish Rite to install another Ommaya Reservoir in the cyst. Two days later, he was readmitted to the hospital with seizures.
Although the odds were against it, it was decided that Matthew’s new malignant tumor might respond to chemotherapy. Four days after his 13th birthday this year (2009) Matthew had a port placed and began chemotherapy. Although the chemo seemed to slow the progression, it did not stop it. The seizures continued and worsened and on 3/28/09 he appeared to have suffered a minor stroke. After another MRI was performed, the Oncologists agreed with us that the solid tumor was still growing and it was time to stop the chemo and concentrate on alleviating Matthew’s headaches and making him more comfortable. We started a regimen of interferon injections into the large cyst in an effort to shrink the cyst and reduce the headaches.
In mid April 2009 we began Hospice care and tried to enjoy every moment that we had left with Matthew. We all faced the challenge with the same determination and faith that we have tried to maintain through our entire journey.
Matthew passed away at 4:30am on Mother’s Day, 2009. He fought so hard for so long and it was his time to rest.
Matthew was an inspiration to so many people who knew him and even people who never met him personally. He faced everything that came his way with extraordinary courage and determination. We were so very fortunate to have this sweet, caring child in our lives for 13 beautiful years. Matthew was quite an artist and loved to share his masterpieces with so many people. Music was so very special to him. He became quite a musician, composing music on the computer, as well as playing the upright string bass – an instrument taller than he was. He loved the beach, hot wings, Japanese steakhouse dinners, being a big brother to Cameron and hanging out with his best friend Bryan.
About September & CURE’S Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time:
September is recognized as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This September, CURE Childhood Cancer has committed to raising awareness and raising money to help find a cure for childhood cancer in our lifetime and put an end to this terrible disease through a special program CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time!
Please help us in our goal of raising $30,000 in the month of September while honoring special CURE kids each day of the month who have been affected by childhood cancer.
For more information, please click here.
About CURE Childhood Cancer:
Founded in 1975, CURE Childhood Cancer is dedicated to conquering childhood cancer through research, education and support of patients and their families. Since its establishment as a grass-roots organization, CURE has focused its efforts on improving the care, quality of life, and survival rate of children with cancer.
The founders, parents and a dedicated pediatric oncologist, joined forces to support laboratory research that would translate into immediate care for children with cancer.
Since that time, CURE has raised millions of dollars to fund cutting edge research at the Aflac Cancer Center Blood Disorders Service at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine.
Through innovative programming, CURE also provides support for stricken families, providing them comfort and support during their time of devastating need.
Donate to Matthew’s Fund
Visit us online at www.curechildhoodcancer.org for more information.