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Matthew’s Story

Welcome to Matty's Web Page.

It was designed to keep family and friends updated on his battle with Hepatoblastoma.


MATTY "The Bravest" DUBUC

9/24/99 - 3/25/07


Matthew was diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma (liver cancer), Stage IV on July 6, 2004. He was just 4 years old. Hepatoblastoma is a rare form of liver cancer and affects only one in a million children a year. Stage IV of the disease means that it has spread, in Matthew's case it spread to his lungs (at initial diagnosis and 13 months later when he relapsed), brain and left wristbone. Matthew had many months of chemotherapy, a liver transplant, 3 lung surgeries, 2 brain surgeries (first tumor removed 12/18/05, second tumor removed on 7/24/06) and radiation. When his wrist tumor got aggressive with no response to chemotherapy or radiation, his left arm was amputated from the elbow down on October 13, 2006. Despite all the hardship he had, he continued to fight his battle like "The Bravest"!! We were told on November 20, 2006 that there was nothing short of a miracle that would help Matty beat his battle.

On March 25, 2007 - 2 years, 8 months and 16 days after Matty was diagnosed, he went to Heaven, peacefully in his sleep.

Matthew has a big brother, Christopher, who was just 9 years old when Matty died. Today, Chris is 18 years old. He grew up too fast, saw too much and knows way more than any child his age should know. Regardless of all he's been through, he's such a good kid, a fantastic student, he's athletic, social and helps in so many ways to 'give back'!

Matty also has a little brother, Zachary, who is now 11 years old. Zachary was just under 2 weeks old when Matty was diagnosed and was 2 1/2 years old when Matty died. Zachary has always been a very good distraction for Matty (and for all of us) because he made it too hard to focus on the frustrations of cancer when we would see his smile and hear his laugh, especially when he was visiting Matty while inpatient! Zachary has no idea he's become so social because of the many trips to the hospital. Zach has many fond memories of Matty, regardless of the short time they had together. Zach is also a terrific student, funny, social and has a big heart!

After finding out on 8/1/05 that Matthew's cancer had returned in his lungs, this web page was created.



Latest Journal Update


I'd love to tell you that Chris has been doing great in his marathon training but Chris broke his collarbone during a school track meet, on January 12th. Last week, he started on a stationary bike, as he won't be able to run again until March. Chris went back to his orthopedic today for a follow up. His collarbone is healing nicely and although, he may not be able to run until March, his doctor continues to have high hopes that he'll be fine come Marathon Monday.
I have to share a story about his/our doctor, because I'm just so amazed. Back when I was training for the 2008 Boston Marathon with Dana Farber, I hurt my knee on the 16 mile group training run. I could hardly walk, never mind run. My primary recommended an orthopedic who was also a runner in training for the marathon. He was running for the Liver Foundation. I was familiar as Matty had a runner from the Liver Foundation in 2005 and 2006. I was excited to meet him and have him 'fix' my knee. Turned out that my knee pain was due to lack of stretching. I hate stretching and never put any effort into it. I paid dearly for that. I had to take the next few weeks off from running, which led me to marathon day. I never ran more than 16 miles before the marathon, something I don't recommend, but considering I was able to do this at age 40 and Chris is only 18. I have no fear he can do this!

During the marathon when I hit mile 22, I was slowly dying. I didn't think I'd ever finish. It was then that I saw my doctor in front of me. I called to him and told him I was ready to throw in the towel. He wasn't going to allow that. He got me back into it from asking all about Matty. Next thing ya know, we're at mile 24 and that's where I left him to hug Matty's transplant nurse. He went on, knowing I was going to be fine. When I got home that night, no word of a lie, I couldn't wait to email him to thank him for getting me to want to finish again. When I logged into my email, there was a donation was from my doctor! I couldn't believe it. 

So, here Chris breaks his collarbone and is referred to the same doctor. I couldn't sit still in the waiting room, wondering if he'd remember me. I couldn't wait to tell him (again) that he truly helped me to finish the marathon that day. As soon as he saw me, he said, "Hey running buddy!". He remembered! I think I chatted more about the marathon than the broken collarbone...oops! That evening, after Chris' appt, he too received a very generous donation. I sent our doctor an email to thank him. Today, at Chris' appt, he asked us to follow him to his office. There on a shelf with some awards, ribbons, and pictures of his family, was the thank you that I sent him after 'our' 2008 marathon. We both filled up as he was showing me how he could never forget about Matty. I hope you understand why I had to share this story. This was 8 years ago. It was only a thank you card, but it had Matty's picture on it and it was saved for that. I continue to be blown away by how Matty has touched the lives of so many.

Although, this is a minor bump in the road of Chris' marathon training, he is still dedicated in helping to imagine a world without cancer. Chris was asked to take part in a fundraising video for Dana Farber. Take a look:   He's at 1:25, 2:06 and the ending (2:15). Won't you please help Chris reach his fundraising goal by Marathon Monday! 
12 people hearted this



Beverly Sullivan
By Beverly Sullivan
What a beautiful post .
Paige and I have been seeing ortho in waltham. We are greeted each time by Matty's beautiful smile when we walk into the department .
Chris, hoping for a speedy recovery.
Nancy Montbleau
By Nancy Montbleau
You are a special person & he remembered that beautiful boy MATTY! 💙💙
Holly Hart
By Holly
Love this story! Marty is always showing up to surprise you! What an amazing Doctor/man. Praying for Chris to have a great marathon! How's the tattoo? It should look great on marathon day!

Love you guys!
1 person hearted this
Judith Maisey
By Judith..Rowan's Cara
Thank you for this post - love the story. Sending healing light to,Chris.
1 person hearted this
Diane Hartigan
By Diane Hartigan
Matty is making sure that all your connections along this journey you're on, keep him front and center! Very cool story.
1 person hearted this