Relay for Life and the unbelievably amazing Matthew

At Roswell Park Cancer Institute, a bell is rung when someone is in remission or is cancer free.

Matthew Eggers &
Mark Gorton, the
dynamic duo

One of Relay for Life’s two honorary survivors, Matthew Eggers, will most likely hear that bell when he goes for his eighteen-month checkup next week. That is how long that the seven-year-old has been cancer-free.  Being cancer free for eighteen months is good news for Matthew. “Burkitt’s lymphoma has a high recurrence rate in eighteen months,” said Matthew’s mom, Tracy Schmidt. 

Matthew has overcome many challenges to reach this point. His fighting spirit is an inspiration to everyone attending Grand Island’s Relay for Life on June 9th.

The Pirate Ship Cupcake. Arrrgggh.

“This is our unbelievably amazing Matthew,” said Mark Gorton, the other member of the dynamic duo of honorary survivors.

When Matthew was diagnosed, the cancer had “impacted his ability to breathe and to walk,” Tracy said. “He was only five years old. He worked hard to fight cancer. He relearned how to walk.

Relay is a celebration of hope

He worked hard with his tutor” when he was undergoing cancer treatments and was unable to attend school.

It’s about the joy of life

“We never thought that it would be us. This disease doesn’t care about age, skin color, or anything else,” Tracy said.

Matthew said, “I like video games, the Buffalo Sabres, and golf. I am a Stage IV Burkitt’s lymphoma survivor. I knew that I was in a fight for my life. I had wonderful nurses and doctors at Children’s Hospital and at Roswell Park. They made the battle easier.” Matthew said that he was encouraged by the support from his family, his friends, and the community. He said that Mrs. McMann, his teacher at Huth Road Elementary School, suggested that he choose a poem to read at Relay for Life. The poem that Matthew chose was titled “Never Give Up.”

Raccoon & Fox Husky
exude enthusiasm for a cure

Mark Gorton reminded everyone at Relay for Life, “Not everyone’s cancer story has a happy ending.” But, whether the ending is happy or heartbreaking, he let the survivors and their families know, “You’re not alone. You are loved. You are cared for so, so much. Today is one of the good days. Without our doctors, many of us survivors would not be here.”

People are stronger than
fire… or cancer.

“Matthew, with your youthful exuberance and joy and maturity, you are an inspiration to both little kids and big kids.” 

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