On November 8th, Matthew Iaria, my nearly 2-year-old nephew and his parents began an extremely unexpected and difficult journey. After a few weeks of noticing his balance was off and ruling out any broken bones, Matthew's parents brought him back to the doctor and his pediatrician sent them to Riley Children's hospital where he underwent an MRI. Unbelievably, the neuro team discovered a 4cm sized tumor resting beneath his cerebellum and around his brain stem/C2 vertebrae, which was the cause for his odd symptoms. After spending the weekend in the hospital, he had surgery on Monday and they were able to successfully remove roughly 95 percent of the mass. We were told it was too difficult to remove all of the tumor given the location and angle at which they attempted to resect it. The surgery has affected Matthew's ability to swallow, but he is a fighter and has been doing well with all of his therapies.
Matthew's parents, Alycia and Nick Iaria have spent the last several weeks in the ICU with him, tirelessly awaiting the pathology report to return. Their two other children, Eliana and Theo, have stayed with family away from their brother and parents during this time. Unfortunately, pathology came back November 20th positive for Grade 3 anaplastic ependymoma; an extremely rare and aggressive brain cancer that affects less than 200 children per year. Matthew still has a long road of surgery and treatment ahead of him. On Friday November 22, he endured a second surgery at Riley to remove even more of the tumor and will likely have to travel out of state to have radiation treatment in the coming months.
Matthew is currently doing well with his recovery and his parents are staying strong by his side. Through this unimaginable situation, his parents and family have been so touched by the outpouring of prayers and support from those around them. We are all truly grateful!
We will continue to add updates here and link it to the gofundme page so check back soon and keep Matthew and his family in your thoughts and prayers! Please keep in mind that Alycia and Nick are extremely busy taking care of Matthew and spending time with their other two children whenever possible, so if you text they may not be able to respond right away. However, they want you all to know that they are grateful for any and all correspondences!