Matt’s story starts back in the summer when as a teenager he was a keen air softer (a combat simulation game similar to paint ball), he enjoyed cycling and any gaming or electronic devices. He is also actively involved as a St Johns Ambulance cadet and supports his mum as a registered young carer for his brother
Until early September he was a fairly typical teenage boy, active other than when glued to an electronic gadget but full of energy and life. One morning he woke and complained of back pain, we of course initially thought it could have been growing pains, but these did not seem to go away so we went to the doctors. Following extensive tests eventually a full blood count was taken, and this highlighted potentially dangerous infection markers in his blood.
We were sent to our local hospital Stoke Mandeville in Aylesbury where over the next 7 weeks he went through a raft of tests and procedures to try and find the cause. During this time, he was treated as both an inpatient and an outpatient, including several trips to A&E which was tough on everyone. Throughout the time Matt was unable to attend school or see his friends as he was too unwell.
We got transferred to John Radcliffe at the end of October and within a week we had a diagnosis of Burkitts Leukaemia. A rare, fast-growing type of leukaemia (blood cancer) in which too many white blood cells called B lymphocytes form in the blood and bone marrow. This rare form of Leukaemia involves a much more intensive treatment path than the more common types, but this takes place over six months as opposed to the more traditional journey of three years plus. We feel very positive knowing this will be an incredibly hard journey, but confident Matt will defeat this horrible disease.
We are grateful for the amazing facilities and support from the John Radcliffe and Clic Sergeant who make a difficult journey a little bit easier.
Matts journey still has a long way to go and we have been overwhelmed by the support and love we have received. A number of people have asked how they can help and following discussion with Matt he would like to use this opportunity to help others in similar circumstances.
There are a number of ways you can do this donating directly through this page or organising a fundraising event to contribute funds to the Oxford Hospitals Charity where we will ask that the money is used to support the ward or to fund valuable research into treatments for blood cancers. An example of how the money could be used would be to purchase an exercise bike as Matt has found this a great way to get some activity but currently the ward has to borrow one from another part of the hospital.
There are other ways you can support Matt and others like him- you can click here to donate your blood*or platelets*. To put into context how important it is to give blood Matt has already had 6 units of blood and 4 platelet transfusions in his first few weeks of treatment. Without this type of support not just Matt but many others may not be here today.
Matt’s cancer is situated in his bone marrow which is the soft, spongy tissue found at the centre of certain bones in your body where blood stem cells live. For many patients, the best hope of a cure is receiving a stem cell transplant. We hope that Matt will not need either of these treatment options but there are many who will. Find out by clicking on this link- become a bone marrow or blood stem cell donor.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.