It was designed to keep family and friends updated on his battle with Hepatoblastoma.
FOREVER OUR HERO
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 16 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 9 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.
Matty's last day of school was the day he passed out his Valentine cards to his classmates. I couldn't convince him to stay the day or even long enough for the Valentine's Day party with his classmates. He just wanted to pass out his Valentine's and leave. That was the last time he entered his 1st grade classroom!
He was so ready to be finished with school and I just didn't realize it back then. He was starting to get tired but I didn't see it. Or I did and I was in denial. Or I just tried so hard to keep some kind of normalcy for all of my boys and that included Matty attending school everyday.
On that same day, Christopher's class made a book of Valentine messages for transplant patients and for donor's families. It was a wonderful 3rd grade class project.
Matty made a card, as well (see picture). The person that received Matty's card, ironically knew about Matty. I was honored and touched to hear that.
I was asked (via email and again through the line at Matty's wake) if I wanted the card back, that the person would absolutely give it up for me to have. I declined saying that the card went to whom it was supposed to and that we followed through with the idea of the class project - of brightening someone's day with a child's message on staying strong!
Tomorrow is National Organ Donor Day! We're forever grateful for having additional time with Matty because of his liver transplant. So, I have registered for the Boston Children's Hospital Walk. I registered as a virtual walker, as the Walk falls on the same day (June 8th) as what would have been Matty's 8th grade graduation. We will attend the graduation, to proudly accept Matty's honorary diploma. But, because we've participated in either fundraising and/or volunteering for the Children's Walk since 2005, I still want to be involved.